Tougher regulations in New Zealand for the COVID-19 coronavirus are urgent. We are now on the brink

Tougher regulations in New Zealand for the COVID-19 coronavirus are urgent. We are now on the brink

A day is a long time in the COVID-19 coronavirus saga. It is now even more clear than when I wrote on Tuesday that COVID-19 is winning the war here in New Zealand.

In the last five days, confirmed cases have jumped from 6 to 20. This is despite minimal testing occurring as to the presence of community transmission.

We are on the brink. It is either immediate imposition of tougher regulations or we face a European-type breakout.

Every hour that the Government delays with tougher regulations, then the disease runs away from us, and the consequent control measures will have to be even tougher. The stakes are huge.

As background, over the last three years I have been closely involved with the Mycoplasma bovis saga here in New Zealand. I have written some 25 articles about Mycoplasma bovis as events unfolded. With extreme frustration, I watched that relatively benign disease, indeed extremely benign disease compared to COVID-19, as it spread through New Zealand’s cattle herds.

For two years, that cattle disease continued to run faster than the Government control measures, despite the Government requiring the slaughter of over 200 herds and allocating $800 million for the task.  I watched as officials moved far too slowly, denying the tracing delays that were occurring, and apparently believing their own propaganda.

It took a major shake-up last year within the Ministry of Primary Industries, led by a new Director General, after two years of denial and make-believe within the Ministry, to start making progress.  That war is still far from won.

With the much more dangerous COVID-19, the first step that needs to be done today is make it mandatory that self-isolation has to apply to everyone in a house.  The notion that some people in a house can be self-isolating while others in that home are living their normal lives is not working.  It is proving a disastrous flaw.

The world is changing fast and we now need your support more than ever. Quality journalism is expensive and in these very troubled times our ad revenues are becoming very uncertain. We provide our coverage free to readers, and if you value that, we ask that you Become a Supporter. To do that, either click on the Red button below, or on the Black button at the top of this page. The level of your support is up to you. Thank you. (If you are already a Supporter, you're a hero.)

The Prime Minister has today (Wednesday 18 March) given ‘advice’ to travellers who arrived before the regulations were put in place at 1am Monday morning that they should now also self-isolate. However, that is no more than advice. It is essential that it too becomes mandatory, and the Government puts in place under urgency any regulatory authorisation that is needed for this to occur.

The third mandatory requirement has to be the immediate closing-down across New Zealand of all group activities of more than say eight people.   All pubs, clubs, restaurants, cinemas, high schools and universities would therefore need to be closed. The only possible exception should be for primary and day-care centres.

Keeping primary schools and day-are centres open also poses a big risk, but the social consequences of any prolonged closure are such that there is perhaps room for debate on this matter. Perhaps that decision could be left until the weekend, as each day tells a new story as to where we are on the battlefield.  However, everything else on the list needs to happen right now.

If we get this right then we still have a chance of stamping out the disease. But every day it gets tougher. Let there be no doubt, we are now in a war. And the way we are currently going, we are in big danger of losing that war. Every day and every hour count.

*Keith Woodford was Professor of Farm Management and Agribusiness at Lincoln University for 15 years through to 2015. He is now Principal Consultant at AgriFood Systems Ltd, and has had a longstanding interest in epidemiology. He can be contacted at 

We welcome your comments below. If you are not already registered, please register to comment.

Remember we welcome robust, respectful and insightful debate. We don't welcome abusive or defamatory comments and will de-register those repeatedly making such comments. Our current comment policy is here.


So how many confirmed cases do people think we will have this time next your bets:



There are already at least that but because of lack of testing and the prevalence of asymptomatic cases, we just don't know.

Just like *every* other country. Let's not forget that Italy has 12 cases this time last month.

Everyone is going to get it, to think otherwise is naive. I'm still going out for dinner and drinks on Friday, and I might just drink corona with a bit of lyme.

OP asked for 'confirmed' cases.


My bet is more than 300 within 7 days (by 26th), and more than 1000 7 days later (by 2nd April)

RCD - think you will be the closest so far.


Editing to add I think it’s triple this at the moment but 78 will be “confirmed cases” this time next week if not more.


As a senior gentleman, I used to cough to hide a fart......

But since the COVID-19 crisis, I fart to hide a cough.


That is literally the best thing I've heard from you. Amazing.


200 plus many many begging to be tested but being told no because we have no local transmission.

Basically its 10x every 14 days so 200 by 1st April. Problem is if the message for all Kiwis to come home now then all bets are off your looking at thousands.

Yep agreed leave them overseas especially the fools who left the country in the last three or four weeks and the Warriors can stay in Oz too

History will not judge the NRL and A-League well at all.

Dont forget the AFL - the biggest game in OZ is continuing - 1st game allegedly tonight. Plonkers.
Australians look up to the AFL and they are giving the wrong message about the severity of this. Gil Maclachlan is a fool

Totally correct. I agree 100%.

Stats show more like 25 times in 14 days, 645 times in 28 days. The whole country in 7 weeks. We are screwed without a shutdown. These are the facts.

1280 that's the total for 7 days time
20480 maybe 614 deaths by here
81920 that's the total for 14 days

And yet if you look at our history so far it hasn't been doubling every day. In fact the predicted growth rate is 14% per day without social distancing and 7% with it.

Uncharted territory here.

I must confess I have a very mild cough and potential other symptoms, but havent been anywhere overseas. I was in Waikato over the weekend in a crowd environment, and have recently heard of a case there. While I am not overly concerned, as I am very healthy and based on stats have a 0.2% chance of dying, what it does raise is people and possibly the government doesnt seem to recognise how quickly this can spread; if undetected..

Self isolation (prevention) now is better than cure later. This is going to be a big cost to the economy regardless, and I believe Keith's message is a good one.

On another note, Kiwibank needs to be hughly capitalised now, to internalise the urgent and necessary locally owned lending, rather than these overseas vulture banks capturing more of NZ inc. Havent seen their CE's reduce their pay, in line with other big businesses, and unlikely too.

we have only been testing people arriving from overseas. Hence, no community transmission. If you aren't looking for it you wont find it.

We have no idea what the true rate is. As of 17th South Korea has tested 5500 people per million population, we have done 120.

Well... let's think about that before JUMPING to speculation .. what happened over the last 7 or 14 days. The number was at 6 for a week then moved to 8 for a few days. You're suggesting there will be over 600 deaths and over 20 000 cases in 12 days from now. What?! I dont like this situation either but I wouldn't go running into a theater and shouting "fire"

With the 80k of NZers still out of the country and returning soon, I think over 300 'confirmed cases from tests', by this time next week.

Leave them out of the country. They have had plenty of time and warning to come back earlier. They can come back once this pandemics is under control everywhere.

""The notion that some people in a house can be self-isolating while others in that home are living their normal lives is not working. It is proving a disastrous flaw.""

Say Whaaat.?
I'm sorry it seemed i was stupid enough to think that automatically without question ALL the people living at the address would be isolated because without doubt they would all have it within a few hours of contact.
Did Jacinda think that each person coming home was going to stay in their bedroom by themselves for 14 days.?

Another FAIL by the CoL

My bet is more than 300 within 7 days (by 26th), and more than 1000 7 days later (by 2nd April)


It's fairly difficult to say anything meaningful without randomised testing.

I've also been surprised that there has been no call on industry. In the UK JCB and Rolls-Royce Aerospace have been roped in to build ventilators for example.

Just smile and say Jacinda has got this.


Labour = Lets Do This
But in reality they have done squat since elected and this will be a disaster.
Lets not test locals we dont have local transmission.
We will most likely get smashed this winter worse than Italy per captia but maybe it will be best as we will get most it done this year and move forward rather than lockdown and hope for vaccine and face a second wave and even third wave.

Uh oh, the Leighton Hosking talkback crowd has leaked onto Interest.

Here comrades another $25 a week, go buy a couple of bottles. Remember me at election time. We are in this together.

Lol. So true. Well, it is a form of support to ciggie and booze retailers, not to mention junk food outlets.

The meat industry closing down would cause complications for many farmers.


We are going to really need the meat industry. All food producing industries need to be protected as a high priority.

The planet is biting back. Its as if greta sent this virus. Airlines finished, meat free, less population.

Meat free. Yeah dream on

Meat is flying out of the supermarkets. Local meat trade going bananas. Perhaps people understand a balanced diet with plenty of iron... aka be in your best shape to beat this virus? But probably if I am gona be on lockdown meat is a good way to fill the tum.

Lol. Are you the marketing manager for the New Zealand Meat Board? What conditions put people at higher risk with Covid-19? High blood pressure, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer... All linked to a diet of high animal protein and animal fat. Plants (they actually have iron too) are a much more effective way to boost your immune system.

Just saw something about dolphins returning to Venice canals, Chinas air quality has improved, C02 emmissions down... Silver linings

All the weaner fairs on at the mo. Heading for winter, those cattle have to move to finishing farms. We have to have the capacity to pick fruit veg and kill stock and move stock, pick up milk, deliver stock feed The govt needs to get its ass into gear.


The government has claimed that its response has been ' hard and fast". The terms "too little, too late " seem more appropriate. If three weeks ago we had shut our borders to ALL non NZers, and directed all returning NZers to either quarantine ( for those with symptoms ) or isolation then we might have been in with a chance. As things stand we are going to have to try to cope as the situation blows out of control. The government needs to be aware that the deaths, when they start coming, as they will, will be on their hands as the price of their inaction. I for one will take every opportunity to remind them of this in the approach to the election, whenever it is held.

Im hearing from people coming through airports that they are not being told about the self isolation policy nor are they being screened in any way. Even when arriving from category one countries. How could this be if its true?

That’s damn scary if it is true.

It was true up until yesterday

I think blaming the government for the deaths as a result of the virus is a bit harsh to be fair. They’re attempting juggle this pandemic that has multifaceted issues, including human life and the economic ramifications of decisions made either prematurely or perhaps too late.

I will blame them if they categorically tell us that people are informed at the border to self-isolate and in fact that it not happening.

Ok - blame away. I’m sure it will make a big difference to your own immune system and reduce the suffering of others.

And you continue to hold nobody accountable and see how that works out. Deal.

Pandemics have been part of human history - regularly wiping out millions of our population. Why freak out now? Want to play god?

Although I agree with your point, it seems that this government has dragged its feet and done the bare minimum because the economy is its main concern, this being an election year after all. And as a consequence, this virus will run rampant and have a far more serious impact on the economy had it reacted much sooner and with real measures.

There are 1000s of cases. It will soon be public.

Just a guess?

Soon? 6 months, a year?

All cases to date have be travellers to NZ or their immediate families. There is still no evidence of any community transmission.

I hope this is sarcasm?!

No, it's a factual statement about the reality of the situation.

Probable case in Samoa. Travelled from New Zealand. Has not been to any other countries.

If it is confirmed it will mean we have local transmission on a very large scale.

No, it doesn't *mean* that at all.

If you look at literally every other country, it was the same line. "No evidence of community transmission". Ahem, are you testing? "I repeat there is no evidence of community transmission".

Come off it. A man went to a rock concert with one of the most infectious illnesses we've seen. We have community transmission regardless of whether you buy the propaganda or not.

Measles and mumps are far more infectious than COVID-19. Even HIV is considered more infectious (r0 of 4 vs ~2-2.5 for COVID-19).

If we have any community transmission it would have only been happening in the last 10-15 days, any older than that and we are highly likely to have seen signals of it showing up in hospital admissions.

Since the start of March the public as a whole are a lot more vigilant about COVID-19 and international travel has been on the decline.

So again, there is no evidence so far of any community transmission having happened in this country. This appears to be far more by good luck than good management, but the reasons for it doesn't change the fact that there is 0 evidence so far.


Can't have evidence if you don't test.

Exactly! They will not test people if they haven’t been around a confirmed case.

The problem with this, how the heck do you know if you’ve been around a confirmed case?! Numbers will explode soon enough. Such a shame.

:) i like your optimism. Iran had not cases at all, because they were not testing anyone. The authorities were just saying "we have not identified any cases" but they did not elaborate that they are not testing anyone :).
A total of 524 cases (the MOH stat does not say how many people, just number of tests) were tested as up to yesterday. Yes in 50 days since the outbreak NZ has tested a total of 524 cases.

Iran's experience does not map to New Zealand.

They reported 2 COVID-19 cases on 19th February. Both patients then died on the same day. So their first report of cases coincided with 2 deaths.

So far NZ has had 20 cases and 0 deaths. Our first case was reported 28th February and since then we have had 0 deaths.

The point is without testing you will not know. It does sound a miracle that there are no more cases in NZ given that case number 3 and case number 4 had many social interactions in different places before going into quarantine. Case 7 coming back from US and then going to church the next day. Kids going to school etc. It does look too good to be true. The level of testing and actions taken for people coming from outside does reflect a very laxed and lazy government response.

And all of those close contacts were quickly identified and have gone into self-isolation.

People keep pointing their fingers at other countries, where it is clear community transmission likely started in late January when everything was BAU and there wasn't any social distancing going on, or contact tracing, and comparing that to what has happened in NZ - contact tracing for every known case and self-isolation of everyone involved.

If we had had community transmission occurring in early February, we would have seen signals of it by now.


We. Haven't. Been. Testing. We have not by any stretch of the imagination traced all people who came in contact with the known cases.

You're a twit, and you're going to realise it real fast.

"We have not by any stretch of the imagination traced all people who came in contact with the known cases."

Health authorities believe they have traced the close contacts and evidence from South Korea is that even if you only get 80% of them traced, that is enough to make a huge dent in transmission. Close contacts are the people most likely to be infected, not casual contacts.

"You're a twit, and you're going to realise it real fast."

I'm talking about the evidence we have and extrapolating from what we see in other countries and that we HAVEN'T seen any of that here.

As soon as we have evidence of community transmission I'll change my message.

You should go back to counting Chinese sounding names. Even that has more meaning than your steadfast and moronic defense of this government's inaction .

I'm not defending any government inaction. I think they should have done more, particularly with regards to ramping up testing.

I am simply describing the actual situation, instead of jumping to wild conclusions that we're imminently going to be following the path of other western countries, when our situation is looking more like Singapore.

This is sarcasm right??? Read my comment below, follow the math - this is the same as everywhere else it will explode like a bomb and a lot of healthy people are experiencing the final days of their lives. This is monstrous incompetence.

Really? quickly identified? the lady coming form Itally took more than few days to go for a test, and took a day for her case to be identified when they announce it the next day they were still looking for people who had sit next to her in her flights. Come on man. Her husband went to a concert and they were trying to get in touch people who were in the same area. Come on mate. Few days after the event. It is a crazy luck ( i hope) that these people did not infect others ,and those others did not infect new ones (as happened elsewhere). They so easily could have. There is nothing NZ government has done to reduce this. In fact these example clearly demonstrate that the government has already failed and that we have been saved by crazy luck. I just hope the luck gods continue to smile down on us as our government has been as effective as the UK government.

"Really? quickly identified? the lady coming form Itally took more than few days to go for a test"

Yes, she is a good example of what "quickly identified" means. She said she felt fine and flew to Palmerston North. Once she arrived there she started feeling ill, so she went straight back to Auckland and put herself in self-isolation.

That is exactly the sort of public awareness that we have in late February that other countries who started having community transmission in late January simply did not have. People just had mild symptoms, thought it was a cold and went about their business, NOT self-isolating and reporting to the health authorities as this woman did.

I'm not denying that NZ has been very lucky so far, but the REASON for no evidence of community transmission - whether that is good luck or good management (and in NZ it's simply good luck) - doesn't affect the reality that we have no evidence of community transmission.

It is a fact that we have no evidence of community transmission. However in absence of methodical search for evidence, how much confidence can we have that there are actually no community transmission? there are already factual stories that there has been ample opportunities for the virus to spread. Backpackers are still allowing people arriving from overseas to stay in their common rooms. 8 cases coming from overseas have been identified to had the virus. How did they get to their homes? how many of them flew inside NZ? how many went to a supermarket before isolating themselves? With risk factors abundant. a more vigorous community testing to screen the situation is needed. Testing for Corona virus after it becomes and epidemic is actually very useless. It is important to test to prevent its spread.

"However in absence of methodical search for evidence, how much confidence can we have that there are actually no community transmission? "

We can have pretty high confidence that any community transmission would have started within the last 10-15 days, because if it were older than that we'd very likely have seen signals by now.

So, 10-15 days ago puts us at the start of March, when the public became much more informed about coronavirus and what it means for the country. Thus if people thought it was possible they could have the disease, they'd be more likely to self-isolate and distance themselves from other people, even if they asked for and were denied testing. In such circumstances it's possible that early initial cases of community transmission could have gone no further than immediate family and been snuffed out before it became widespread within the community. We'll have a better idea if this is the case in another 10-15 days time.

"there are already factual stories that there has been ample opportunities for the virus to spread."

The virus really only becomes particularly contagious once people have symptoms. So far from most reports it appears that people in NZ that developed symptoms went into voluntary self-isolation and contacted health authorities.

"8 cases coming from overseas have been identified to had the virus. How did they get to their homes? how many of them flew inside NZ? how many went to a supermarket before isolating themselves?"

You didn't ask the crucial question: when did they develop symptoms and which of those things that you listed did they do once they had symptoms?

Good points. It's a very good discussion.

Lanthanide, just read the stories of the cases. This one is about the Invercargill case

He has been out and about in Invercargil from 12th of March. He Isolated himself from yesterday. His story is just the same as others. As of today, they are still trying to trace people who might have come in contact with him, so 9 days after coming in contact with him. Enough time for this to spread to the community. I am not an alarmist. We might have been lucky this time too. Or we may not be. I guess we will know that within the next couple of weeks. We can come back to our discussion then.

The article has a list of public places he has been. It says "The risk in these instances is considered to be low."

It sounds like he's only recently developed symptoms, hence why the risk of transmission would have been low on those dates.

We are seeing signals. Healthline is overwhelmed with phone calls from people displaying symptoms. They are then told that if they haven't been overseas or in "close contact" with someone who has, then they will not have it, and do not require a test.

"If it looks like a duck, swims like a duck, and quacks like a duck, then it probably is a duck."

A lot of people are worried and there are a lot of hypochondriacs around. People swamping healthline is absolutely not evidence of community transmission, sorry.

A lot of calls to healthline are people asking if they should send their children to school, whether they should self-isolate or not, etc.

I appreciate your voice of dissent from the chorus here. Though I don't share your optimism.


I don't class it as optimism so much as evidence-based realism.

betya that school has community transmission

It most likely does not. Incubation period is on average 5 days before symptoms are shown and people are most infectious when they start showing symptoms and the day or two beforehand.

The boy attended half a day of school on Monday and went home at lunch time when his dad had a positive test result. He didn't go home because he started showing symptoms.

You know, you're a real spoil sport with all your facts.

Facts??? More likely hopes...

I know.

This is wishful thinking. Look at the contagion around the world. No symptoms doesn't mean he's not shedding the virus, we don't know.

Thanks Chris, I have actually done a LOT of research about COVID-19 and I stand by everything I've said. It's not wishful thinking.

Good luck. Unfortunately statistically if you don't isolate you will probably get it and not get a hospital bed if you need it.

Only those who take shelter are going to be ok. There is no value getting this as you may not even have future immunity. It's only a downside risk that seriously risks your life.


Every hospitalized pneumonia case in NZ is tested for Covid 19. So if NZ has untracked community transmission it is at a very early stage because no untracked cases have led to hospitalisation.

Currently there is no evidence of community transmission. But we would all feel easier if there was more community testing...

In NZ health system, you must be seriously ill before they hospitalise you. So testing hospitalised people does not tell you much about anything really. Up to yesterday a total of 528 cases were tested. That included 8 confirmed cases, 2 suspects and the rest negative. I guess they must have tested quite a few people who were in contact with the 10 (up to yesterday) confirmed and suspected cases. So I am not sure many hospitalised people have been tested either.

The brink, looks that way.

There sounds as though a good amount of contact trace virus testing being done now/today, basis the Otago University's St Patrick's Day party, testing across the island.
Ironic given Otago University has a School of Medicine.

It's rare that leadership groups, their actions/delivery outcomes fundamentally change to the better.

The problem Covid causes is excess demand for hospital/ICU beds. Not even the beginning of that surge has been seen yet. As I said there is no evidence currently of untracked community transmission. But it would be helpful if there was more testing in the community...

The experience of all other countries is that it starts small. It is very quite for a while, very few cases. no new cases and then it gets out of hand! NZ has been incredibly lucky if the virus is not spread in the country. This luck has absolutely nothing to do with government. 8 Cases did go through their fingers. In fact, they were not trying to identify or stop them. So going through their fingers is a gross exaggeration. Like many other countries where very few people started the spread the virus could have already running havoc in NZ. All first 8 cases come to authorities themselves in NZ arriving from overseas. Not a single one of them were identified by the government. So how are we even talking about government response as there has been no response whatsoever? they rely on people to behave responsibly. Well, NZ people might have been really great, but can you call it a government plan?

My point wasn't to support or not the governments entire pandemic response only to point out there is no evidence indicating there is community transmission currently (but it could be starting undetected). And there is evidence that 2 to 3 weeks ago there wasn't community transmission because by now we would be experiencing a surge of cases coming into hospital with acute respiratory distress.

"All first 8 cases come to authorities themselves in NZ arriving from overseas. "

Yes, which is exactly why NZ is different from other countries.

Patient #31 in South Korea who had over 1,300 close contacts ignored advice from doctors to get tested and went and had lunch with a friend instead. She got a fever on 10th February.

NZ's first case was not until 28th Feb. Patient 31 would not happen in NZ today. It did happen in Korea in early February because public perception and knowledge of coronavirus and its impacts were that it was a Chinese problem.

"Every hospitalized pneumonia case in NZ is tested for Covid 19."

That is only within the last two days. If you presented before then = no test.

BS. If you have a pneumonia of unknown origin that is severe enough to lead to hospitalisation (about 20% of Covid cases) the hospital tests until they know the cause so they can treat it. Covid tests have been available for more than 2 days. Stop scaremongering.

Am I the only one that reads?

New Zealand's criteria are stricter than other countries' - officials generally require a person to not only have symptoms (a fever or cough) but also to have been overseas recently or been in contacted with a confirmed case in order to get a Covid-19 test. However, the Government told doctors on March 8 there was flexibility in these criteria and they should order tests using their best judgment.

Evidently, that message didn't filter through into action, with fewer tests being conducted in the entire period since January than the country could run in a single day. Ardern said she didn't "think that's a fair way to actually reflect what's been happening in New Zealand testing. Our capacity is significant."

So on March 8th they officially dropped the "Overseas" requirement. So we know they were not routinely testing Pneumonia patients then.

It was not until March 16 (Two days ago) that it was confirmed that Pneumonia patients were going to be routinely tested

I have bolded the use of the word "WILL" in the quote below.

To qualify for a test, people need to satisfy a number of criteria which are a mix of symptoms and history. A case of the sniffles is not likely to be tested.

These include people with a fever of or above 38C or an acute respiratory infection with one of the following symptoms: shortness of breath, cough or sore throat with or without fever. They also must have travelled from a country of concern, or been in close or casual contact of a suspect, probable, or confirmed case within the past 14 days.

Healthcare workers and people in intensive care units, or high dependency units with community-acquired pneumonia, will be tested.

None of that says that pneumonia patients were not tested, just that they weren't tested for COVID-19 as a matter of course, as in they would try other diagnostic tests first. Whereas if someone were admitted today COVID-19 test would be amongst the first things they do.

"just that they weren't tested for COVID-19 as a matter of course"

That is the very point being debated. They were not tested for COVID-19.

No. They were not tested AS A MATTER OF COURSE.

That doesn't mean they weren't tested. As Brendon has said, when someone presents with pneumonia they do a battery of tests. COVID-19 *would* have been at the bottom of the list (and now it would be at the top). If one of the battery of standard tests gave a positive result then that pretty much rules out COVID-19 as the cause. If none of the standard tests turned up with a positive result, then a COVID-19 test would have been done in the search to explain the pneumonia so then they would know how best to treat it.

The fact that we have had 0 cases reported from people in hospital with pneumonia suggests that simply no-one has been admitted to hospital with pneumonia caused by COVID-19.

Which is consistent with there being no general community transmission of COVID-19 within NZ during the month of February.

You need to apply a bit more critical and logical thinking to the position your adopting and see if it is as rational as you think it is.

Exactly. Good explanation of the reasoning.
We know that Covid was not spreading around NZ undetected in February.
It may have spreading in March but social distancing measures have been in place. Anyone travelling who experienced symptoms hopefully responded responsibly.

Look, I fully understand your point. But you are assuming:

"then a COVID-19 test would have been done in the search to explain the pneumonia so then they would know how best to treat it."

This is not what actually happened. There is zero evidence that:
a) COVID-19 testing was done on any patients unless they had been overseas or in close contact with a confirmed case.
b) they were using it as a last resort, when other tests were negative.

At this point in time they were categorically not testing for COVID-19 (unless the patient had been overseas or in direct contact).

Yes, that has changed now (For pneumonia only) other cases are at a doctors discretion. I already know of one hospital that is now retrospectively testing patients going back 30 days. This may (and hopefully will) turn up nothing, but the point is you don't know if you don't test!

The likelihood (as proven by just about every single other country) is that community transmission is occurring in the background.

You clearly don't understand my point.

20% of covid cases end up being hospitalized for severe respiratory distress. If hospitals had spikes of these cases with no known causes (if they weren't testing for covid which I don't believe). They would suspect a covid outbreak... doctors aren't stupid and they have a responsibility to report outbreaks of contagious diseases.
Stop exaggerating the threat. The situation is bad enough without people going overboard...

Yep, keep referring to the notifications that MoH send to clinicians.

The disease definition has been changing, so have the test few, test some, test more message to clinicians.

Be careful listening to political words, as the words blur the timeline and tense.

So the 14th then? Unless anyone has an older one to refer to.

I am happy to admit I was wrong by 2 days. But my generic point stands. We are not testing for community transmission, ergo we cannot have community transmission.

How many cases do you have to have on average before one shows up at hospital? with 15% hospitalisation about 1.5-2 weeks after infection (growing at 10x per fortnight) you would need about 6 at time of infection leading to about 50 when testing revealed it at hospitalisation.

I think it likely we have 1-200 cases in NZ at the moment given they have only been testing 10 per day up until a few days ago (stunningly bad). Likely also that hospitals will be overwhelmed within 2 weeks given that starts to occur at about 150 per million (750) infections, and that nation will be in lockdown in 1 to 2 weeks.

Figures are worse than that look my post lower down this page re community transmission calculation.

Also if the hospital during their testing process for the cause of pneumonia find a non-covid cause. They have 'tested' even if they haven't used a covid lab test.

Up until this week, have they tested anyone who hasn't traveled overseas, or been in contact with people overseas, such as family members?

No test. No evidence

Govt is useless. NZ had the privelege of weeks of notice on this. But did we test? and then isolate. No. Those of us who followed from the beginning cannot believe that our advantage as an observer was wasted. And now we will see an explosion of all those people who had "colds" at the Dr.s and were not tested. Insanity.

On the flip side, we close the borders before the rest of the world, NZ businesses collapse everywhere, then find out that it wasn’t the pandemic we thought it was but the economic damage is done and we can reverse our decision making. I personally think the govt has made fair decisions given the situation and information at hand.

As the government is responsible to collecting the information to base its decision, I say that they failed. with a total cases of 528, they decided the extent of the risk to NZ. That is including 8 confirmed cases. at least 3 of the cases going around in NZ and interacting with many people before going into quarantine. Then NZ sets up a healthline who rejects people who call. Doctors sending message out that do not come to us, stay home and rest. If you are doing everything in your power not to see something, then you are very likely to succeed.

Out of interest, what decisions could they have made that would have made you satisfied?

More testing of people coming in from the get go. Earlier plans for self isolation for people coming in, specially in the first week from arrival. Come on the lady coming from Italy, traveled to PN and came back. His husband went to a concert. Just a miracle that they did not infect many other people. The US guy went to church before going self isolating. WE have been incredibly lucky that they have not infected others.
I am not making this up. These are facts. These facts indicate a very lazy response by NZ government. We have no land borders. We have only three international airports. We could have spent a lot more monitoring the incoming people than the need to spend 12 billion to help the economy.

I'd bet NZ simply did not have the resources. Much like the USA had cut their CDC resources under Trump, we've not exactly been swimming in well-resourced healthcare over the last decade or so.

A week or two back many of the critics of the government were still ranting that their measures were too draconian, too much too soon and would condemn the country's economy. Now it's not enough not fast enough...except for the ones on Facebook who are still ranting that it's too much, draconian.

For me its very simple.

Main 3 symptoms of Covid 19
- Fever
- Cough
- Shortness of Breath.

Any person presenting with any single one of those symptoms, should have been tested. Regardless of who they had contacted or where they had been.

In an ideal world they would have been, but we didn't have the testing capacity at the time. I think it's fair enough to fault the government for not getting into gear sooner on that front.

Maybe not to get all of them, but we could have tested at capacity.

We copied USA, Italy, UK in our testing criteria. Meanwhile South Korea is doing it right the whole time.

Claiming that we are leading, when not only are we following, but following a clearly wrong path is just inexcusible.

We were leading on the travel restriction front.

They say they can test between 1000-1500 people a day, and are nowhere near that yet.

I displayed those very symptoms when I checked my Kiwisaver balance just yesterday

If you can pull your funds out of Kiwisaver I suggest you do it and talk to your bank manager as even in a Conservative Fund you will expect losses. Those financial advisory companies cannot fathom out why Growth and Conservative investments are going in the same direction.

+loss of sense of smell and taste for a short time.

You can bring an economy back to life but not a person!

This government is not proactive.

What is the point government will shut schools and everything afterwards, when many are infected and suffering and not now.

Government will have to shut wether do now and try to reduce or afterwards when many are infected.

It is inevitable they will close everything. Phone call from my brother in Chicago this morning, all schools, bars, restaurants closed. Cant buy toilet paper in supermarkets (lol, never got the memo) No gatherings greater than 10 people.....
It's only a matter of time if not only to save face...

Things are escalating, with shortages and associated social disruption representing a bigger risk than the virus. The govt needs to ensure we have food security, starting with the vulnerable, elderly and disabled. Preparation needs to be made for a three month freeze on all loan repayments, as well as rent breaks with appropriate govt support for landlords left struggling.

Shame, here we are, isolated at the end of the world, which has mainly been the 'six months in a leaky boat.' issue, ie a negative.

We can't even play to our strengths.

Totally agree, I'm going to repost what I wrote on an earlier article here because this is very very important and Ardern is mismanaging just like almost every other world leader which will lead to additional deaths for every day she holds off the real action:

Community spread WILL be happening NOW.

Do the math.

Let's assume the natural uncontrolled transmission rate an average of 1 person infecting 3 others every 6 days. (Hence leading to case doubling effectively every 3 days. ie 1 case on day 0, 4 cases on day 6, 16 cases on day 12 etc). If 1 mild case was infected on day 0 (arriving in NZ shortly after being infected. Then on day 6 there are 3 new infections, statistically likely also all to be mild (assume none of the mild cases get picked up as no direct connection to travel), then on day 12 we have 12 new infections (16 total) statistically 1 of these will be serious and therefore it will be the first community transmission to get picked up BUT it won't be picked up until day at least 12 days after that infection ie day 24, hence there will already be 16x4x4 (ie 2^8) which is 256 cases of which 51 will be serious.

This could potentially happen in several places at once, hence there might be 100-200 serious cases turning up in days of each other, probably about 24 days after the first unknown case. The likelihood of our first case of this kind of seeding was sometime in the past 10 days, so in 14 maybe longer (if incubation is towards the longer end for the initial cases) we will have 100 odd local transmission cases turning up, most of which are already infected now.

This has happened in nearly every country so far. Look at the US: first case in Seattle Jan 24, obviously someone was infected in the community by this case but the first time it showed up was late Feb, testing was refused hence it went on for several more days with first community transmission not picked up until start of March (hence 36 days) so cases could have ballooned to as many as 4,000 by that date in Seattle alone. Hence by mid March these cases would only just being identified, with many being missed because of the lack of testing of mild cases so this is entirely consistent with the order of magnitude of the actual 1000 odd cases currently confirmed in Washington state.

NZ need to lock down NOW as by the time they react to the first community spread which is picked up, even more days will pass and 256 could turn to 1032 cases and we will be exactly where Europe and USA were a few days ago.

We are pretty much screwed unless Ardern acts now. The experts know this, look how grim Prof Michael Baker looked on tv, they know this and say we must act now, only stupidity and fears of overreacting and financial cost considerations are stopping it, but the financial cost will only escalate the longer we wait. If action was taken 3 weeks ago, our economy would be ok, now with the facts fast coming out of Italy it looks like not just economic catastrophe but mass death is imminent.

Remember with the rate of uncontrolled infection we have 60 days from day 0 to full infection of the non-isolated. That means that given day 0 could be estimated at say March 1 in just 7 weeks we will see total catastrophe without mass interventions.

I can understand most of your reasoning and concerns. I do disagree regarding the economy. I think regardless of what the government did, economically we’d be in the same situation. No tourism, limited exports, loss of confidence with falling share market. Picture is pretty much the same.

Too late now the only way was to shutdown all flights a month ago and any returning nz citizens needed to go into a secure quarantine facility for a month. Never happened. You cannot contain this virus once here and its out in the open like it is now.

C'mon Carlos, not just too late - This morning we've clearly showing the intention to amplify it.. Kiwis abroad hearyee hearyee.. around 80 thousands of them.. please, come/return home before it's too late.. (meanwhile? how many of those cases you've mentioned, came from overseas visits) - if not mistaken, almost all of them.

Bold call for a government to isolate itself from the rest of the world we’ll before everyone else. Hindsight is great now though. But even if we did, how long would we need to be cut off for? (Which even now is still a valid question).

I told people back at the end of January that we should be restricting travel, as it is travel that what is spreading this to different countries . They thought I was over reacting and that the cost would be far to great, and people would lose the money they had paid for their holidays. That looks minor now. But what power do we have to make decisions?

Effectively Ardern chose to risk lives (really should say the "m" word but I would probably get in trouble) instead of letting there be a relatively small financial cost to some private business a month ago.

We could have been an island of safety. Instead she has and still is risking our lives for nought. She must be tossed out for this betrayal of trust.


There might a few heuristic/bias issues going on here with this line of thinking. Sorry Chris.

ChrisJ, are you saying we should have gone earlier on travel restrictions than this (3rd February);

I think we were one of the first in the world on that one.

What we failed to anticipate was how, given no one else in the world had at that time implemented that travel ban - it would move quickly to other nations, and to our own people in other nations.

And of course WHO were not helping us if we had indeed wanted to fully shut our boarder, given they only declared it a pandemic 6 days ago!

Until they went the pandemic route, any nation restricting int'l commercial flights into their territory would have possibly opened themselves up to commercial litigation. Deglobalising is a whole new thing for everyone.

Thanks for a rational and helpful response Kate.

We should have required quarantine as soon as any country had more than 50 cases. As soon as the situation in Italy, Iran and South Korea became clear full quarantine should have been required for everyone except Australia at that point - as happening once is bad luck, twice is a coincidence, three times - it's a problem. Then as soon as hidden community transmission became evident in the US, Australia should have gone to quarantine status too.

I have been saying this for weeks. It was clear from the maths. I started
making preparations at the end of January when I saw the crazy Wuhan numbers.

Do you mean we let people from those nations in, but quarantine them locally, or do you mean we should have banned any travelers who had been in or transited through those nations?

And what is community transmission - is it someone infected who has no traceable link to someone from overseas? Do all nations report those statistics accurately? I doubt even NZ has any idea whether we have had community transmission at this stage (if my definition is accurate).

I hear what you are saying but I just don't think we, or any nation could have locked down earlier. Look at the criticism Trump got only days ago when he travel banned the whole of Europe. But, once he'd done that, everyone else was free to do what they might have wanted to do for weeks - disruption to commercial services be damned.

If anyone failed the world in this mess - it was WHO. There are your totally and utterly incompetent bureaucrats. And the way they protected China's reputation - well ...

Kate, are you sure, maybe look at the timeline.

February Someone in Wellington decided NZ need not follow the path taken by Singapore/Taiwan/Hong Kong. In February the options were live, but not selected.

In February someone in Wellington judged the inventory of test resources, reagents etc, would be more than enough now and be available at the frontline.

In February Wellington was saying, NZ follows the WHO, who in Wellington decides now in March NZ does not need comply with WHO?

Check the article in the link - it was 3rd February we did the China travel ban. I think the timeline is right.

What path do you refer to as taken by Singapore/Taiwan/HK?

This path, here are links re Singapore. Take a look at Singapore health site, the messaging and daily updates.

The key, it turns out, is not so much in the strategy but in the implementation.

Amidst global anxieties surrounding the epidemic, Singapore has emerged as the poster child for coronavirus management, garnering praise from observers and experts globally. In mid-February, it was home to the largest number of coronavirus cases outside mainland China, with 58 cases of infection.

From Singapore to South Korea, countries across Asia have been mobilising for weeks in an attempt to contain the spread of the coronavirus. Some have had successes, combining mass-testing, technology and social distancing to stem the tide of infections.

I would like to mention an observation here that I have been in two minds whether to mention or not, and I suppose I could be sin-binned for it, but my conscience compels me to mention it:
Last Friday, the day before the big panic, I was standing in the check-out queue of my local P'N'Save and just as I turned around to see who were chatting away and laughing a tall Chinese lady standing behind her trolley directly behind myself, in her 30s I suppose, sneezed directly in my direction without any attempt to cover her mouth with a tissue or sneeze into the crook of her elbow. I didn't know how to react.....if it had of been the next day, when panic was overtaking us, I definitely would have said something to her, but I desisted and instead scowled at her, but she didn't even notice that.
Earlier in the week at the Royal Oak shopping mall, on Manukau Road, I had heard a middle-aged Chinese man noisily clearing his throat from across the road. I looked across the street to catch sight of him discharging his spit directly into an open street rubbish bin.
Both these incidents brought to mind episodes of Chinese young men spitting directly on to the footpath a few years ago when I was spending more time in the city.
I do wonder if this habit is deemed socially acceptable in China, because the only time I have seen such spitting in NZ in recent decades is on the sports fields where it seems to be socially acceptable. As a boy growing up I did occasionally see this habit exercised by certain types of men who appeared to deem it manly.
If this is an acceptable habit in China, then I wonder if it could contribute to the spread of viruses.
I am not setting out to offend anyone but others must surely have noticed something similar, and I feel that, under the present circumstances it should be addressed by the health authorities by way of perhaps a general publicity campaign against spitting in a public. I have noticed publicity regarding how to sneeze in public so there is no excuse for not abiding by that advice.

Yip, streetwise you're not being a PC there.. go now visit Lyod Elsmore swimming pool.. the past 6 years, the outside signage clearly directed to specific ethnicity. From healthcare position, we all understand this.. but sadly, Nat/JK govt really need their easy money that time. The only way to entice their investment to move here or other places on this planet is just that: 1) the full rights to procure a land/houses 2) allow their mass migration to reside here. Now, just like Japan which is slowly being swayed away from Whale meat diet (this still on-going process) that Japanese hard found as their birth right. World have the same difficulties to convince Chinese govt. to educate their populations about this culture, smoking, spitting.. you may be able to enter from healthcare point of view to them.. BUT it's super hard to convince their claimed birth rights/century of cultural beliefs that consuming exotic animals can carry consequences.. hence, here we go agin on those Rhino's, Elephants, Tigers, Pangolin, Snakes.. China CCP no 1 recently basically claimed that '... there's no force in this planet that will stop China..' I slightly can forward my interpretation on it.. no one can tell/should stop China's population forging ahead, whilst maintaining their past heritage.. one of those? consuming that exotic animals which continually has this RNA virus adaptation, you're worried about Covid19 - in my book? I already can foresee the Covid20-22 - one more species to cause world to stop in two years, another species is for one year, as generic nuke golden chalice vaccine/inhibitors being perfected/produced... until the next time. But I shall stop it as I won't be in the position to give more details.

My experience in North Shore is Asians being more cautious than Europeans. I have been known to spit but try to be as unobtrusive about it as possible, rather like farting. Been randomly coughing for about 20 years - think it is a mild asthma. Maybe time to self-isolate before the vigilantees find me.

Wishful thinking, this virus is essentially spreading at the same rate everywhere (except on the Diamond Princess) where it was faster.

and not forgetting the miracle of Wuhan between first case 17Nov and mid Jan when there were officially less than 200cases and not 10000+ as would be expected in absence of any attempts to control it. Politburo magic!

2 choices close everything or just let it spread.
My choice is let it spread and if you are high risk you choose if you want to isolate.
This virus will be around for years to come and may mutate next year and so on.
How long will USA take to turn into Madmax movie with a total shutdown food will be in short supply after 30days and then what everyone has to go back to work again anyway.
Lets watch Italy and see if they go back to work next week or two but still get thousands of cases again.

America could go Mad Max very quickly. Way to many guns over there and people still buying more as we speak.

It’s a bit like the opening plot for one of those zombie horror movies

Becnz, you can't let it go the death rate will be 10% if you do, and not just old people. China's figures show they were letting the oldies and sick go. In all places where there was adequate ICU care oldies survived well - looked at the diamond princess.
300,000 kiwis dead, assuming 40% lock themselves up. Are you ok with that?? It will only take 7 weeks from now for that to happen. The choice has to be made, I can assure you that it won't be let it go, so why are we wasting lives by waiting?????????

Here's the mortality rate by age chart;

Want a lower mortality rate - quarantine by age - want mortality of less than 3% - mandate that everyone over 60 years stays at home.

I'll call that fake news even though it comes from John Hopkins data. Why??

The Wuhan age data comes from the when the death rate in the sample was just over 2% (on Feb 11 I think). Now it is over 5%. At that early point the old and sick would have been the first to die (or let die) with the shortage of ICU and O2. The proof is the low death rate amongst the old on the diamond princess.

If there is mass infection the death rate may approach or exceed 10% like in Italy.

If you can't accept that you have potentially a 1 in 10 chance of death and a 1 in 5 chance of lung scarring shortening your life by years. Get over the grief and get prepared otherwise you are about to be a victim of this.

Remember SARS v1 had an ultimate 10% fatality rate despite the early estimate being 3%ish.

SARS v2 is a killer of people not just the economy.

Just looked up Italy - and yes, overall death rate approaching 10%;

But no by age breakdown. The chart I posted (though accept the questionable accuracy) does indicate those higher mortality numbers in the higher age ranges. But, not everyone has a 1 in 10 chance of dying - everyone older that contracts the virus does!

So, if we quarantine our over 60s now, I suspect we'll fare a bit better than most. And then our full quarantine, if needed a couple of weeks down the track, might be a bit more orderly.

I don't think it works that way.
Everyone is equally open to infection.
If only the old people quarantine, then it will still rip through the community. And from there it will absoultely rip through places like rest homes and hospitals where younger people work.
It was with good reason that the Chinese quarantined everyone, and the Chinese model is the only model so far that has worked.
The Taiwanese, Singapore and Japan models have not really worked and they are now having to tighten up even further in atempts to reduce the transmission.

I'm not convinced China's complete lockdown has worked. Aside from not trusting their stats from the beginning, one would only be able to assess that effectiveness once lockdowns end, and work/school/travel patterns return to normal. Your basic premise seems to be based on the notion that after a full lockdown (of some unspecified period), there will be no secondary wave of infections. In other words, the population will be for all intents and purposes virus free when emerging from lockdown.

In my opinion, the key to managing this is to flatten the curve; manage as many infections as possible in situ through quarantine in home (as opposed to within the health system) and take immediate action to prevent infection of the most vulnerable. Also, all NZers need to respect rules of self-isolation immediately they have any kind of cold/flu like symptoms.

Yes, old folks in lockdown will still die at a higher rate than the younger cohorts of the disease - there is no avoiding that.

Let it spread uncontrolled and 5% die. In Italy there is only about a 4:1 ratio between hospitalisations of under 50's and over 50's so several % of under 50's will die if hospitals are overwhelmed.

What the hell is wrong with these health Depart advisors - just shut all flights now! Tough titty if you are a resident stuck overseas. C'mon - no more flights in or out of NZ. Lets get truly serious about this.

To late bud we now have to self isolate if we don't want to get it. The government was always going to fail on this because what was needed would have looked like a massive overreaction a month ago. Now it just looks like the obvious thing that should have been done.

The Prime Minister needs stop the "people should" and "we advise" fluff and actually lead and close the border now.

Because it appears Ashley Blomfield is leading the country right now.

Behind this Keith, the massive economic cost.. I remembered how we championing Japan as country to invest in NZ late 80's, early 90's. Now shifted to China, basically 'indirectly' to have their under privilege massive population to sustain the upper economic echelon which trickled being enticed to shift to NZ as incentives, Now - If you really seen how this RNA rock star moves under the scope you shall realise that soon another variants will pop up.. China is staggering being look at by the world now after this sage. But then again the repeat rinse greed cycle need to continue.. next country on the scope will be? India, Brazil, Indonesia.. etc. - We all have been warn about the immune bacterial super bug, this has yet to eventuate, yet now the world being woken up on the virus class side - Late, or Not late, About to, Early? all those slightly irrelevant when you very well know the driving force behind it, is and always.. keep/maintaining the cash flow (hence always they/politician use that words 'balancing the needs') - And what more interesting to watch actually how the RE ponzi scheme came up with different jackets, experts, reasonings, economist, banks, policy makers etc. - which are all basically already got their clothes wet in the scheme - observed it, at any cost (mostly at future tax payers bail out) - I'm like you observing this little bug rock star from healthcare perspectives, but honestly dig/elaborate further down & be honest - The reasons of actions is not always based on clear facts/non-biased input. C'mon you know better if can recall about; tobacco, now vaping, marijuana, sugar, salt, ciggie, alcohol. 'When your problem is someone else business' then we don't call it a problem, I can always bring a different 'paid expert' than you.. to elaborate my narrative.

Turns out it’s no worse than the normal flu...

Except, the fastest rate of spreading & killing the elderly.. get those from Stats.. then you can tell how normal this particular 'flu' is. For one? I never seen the overwhelming of ED/ICU beds as per this little rock star bug visit human bodies.

Chiefio, more than a week ago, characterised the spread in the USA as 'case, case, Cluster, Cluster, BOOM'.

It's clear to me that Dunedin (with 3 plus a high school with 150 close contacts) is a Cluster-Boom candidate.

But given our two main islands, maybe it's time to think about stopping the movement between 'em too??

The boy was at school for half a day and went home at lunch time when his father told him he had a positive test result. The incubation period is on average 5 days and you're most infectious at the time symptoms appear and the day or two before hand.

It's highly unlikely anyone from that school got the virus, and even if they did, all 150 close contacts are now in self-isolation and they have all been tested.

Yes if this takes off into community transmission the route will be much more random. One of carriers will have visited somewhere like a cafe or public toilet. Sneezed. Forgotten to tell public health officials so no track and trace follow up. Someone catches the virus at the cafe, toilet... and the outbreak is not detected until the numbers being admitted to hospital start to rise...

Yes, exactly.

Time for an extended holiday on the Chatham’s?

Use a boat.. flight is suspended.. and brace for impact, as the local is geared up to spear gun you before touching the land ha ha..

hire a bach for the winter, tends to be cheap out of season, and go fishing.

Have a look at the Chinese herbal clinic they are full and guess who are the patients and when did they arrive. Now they complain that NZ is not a safe place.

It’s gone too far now. The Chinese actually did a fantastic job of containment but Italy did not and Europe the US and the rest of the world followed. My guess is that everyone will eventually get it and it will never be entirely eliminated much like common influenenza but people will build an immunity over time. Unfortunately many will not survive but this is part of being human the strongest survive. Eventually we will have to admit defeat and lift all the restrictions before everyone starts dying of starvation and homelessness as well. Need the economy back to a functioning one

Only 500 million out of 12 billion for health services. Only 32 million to free up ICU space and update equipment. No new ICU’s no extra staff.. That is orders of magnitude too low. We need crash program to create thousands of ICU beds and train thousands of medical staff (Uni Students!) as well as we can in coming months. Then we can potentially afford to infect the lowest risk 70% of our population in a few months with just 0.1% death rate to gain herd immunity, rather than ruinous 'suppression' limbo for 18 months or more.

It has literally spread around the world. I don't think anyone can argue China did a "Fantastic" job containing it.

They did a good job containing it outside Hubei, but obviously didn't stop it spreading internationally.

How can you believe the media hype that comes out of China. They are probaby still experiencing a high mortality rate. And what is happening in North Korea, isnt JJ "holidaying" outside the country.

This is my final post.

You have all been warned, the solid data and facts prove my arguments.

If you want to save yourself shelter now at home. There is almost certainly moderate scale community transmission already. With no major action there will be 1000 plus identified cases in 10 or so days. Severe actions will then be taken and infections might go to the 10s of thousands, or it could all run away and we get millions of infections (which would require absolute incompetence).

Either way there will be deaths, let us pray that it is kept low by immediate major action tomorrow.

If not, take your own action and protect yourself while you can. Even if you are in total denial, at least social distance. This is not something to play Russian Roulette with.

PS. This is real (unlike fake global warming) and about to happen to us like a bomb going off.

Just stay at home and let it pass.

It is an excellent final point, particularly for superannuitants!!!!!!

I agree that fake global warming is fake.

Pity about the real global warming, though.

I can't help but think about an analogy with Dunkirk. We are going to be over-whelmed and what ever action is too little and simply attempted delaying tactics; it is coming and it is unstoppable.
. . . and I am currently in an optimistic mood.

Look what's happening in Germany right now.
A beautiful sunny Wednesday in Munich. People here are milling around, chatting at restaurants, and shopping as if nothing's wrong. On Monday this week all schools were closed down, and Germany closed it's borders. Yesterday the Bavarian government declared a state of disaster! All scientific research at my institute was halted, and we were instructed to work from home with no defined return date. Today serious restrictions have been placed on commerce with supermarkets and pharmacies exempt. The number of infected are growing by about 25-30% per day. People just don't seem to be able to comprehend the change, even when it's right upon them.

We need to shut down everything and everybody except food producers and their transport systems. In the hope that by doing that food production can continue. This will help stop transmission to the people involved in food production. Provide food for the nation and food for export so as a nation we can still earn some money. For gods sake Jacinda and Grant get on with it.

If we dont do that now, our food production will stop as people get sick and the likes of kiwifruit pickers go home out of fear or illness.

Oh dear. In announcing my wonderful ideas I have just realised supply chains are going to be completely wrecked. Parts for machinery will not come...there is no answer to this. How do we stop the world and isolate, and keep feeding ourselves.
Over the last week everytime I think I dont have to go back to town to get something, I either break something or just realise I still need this or that.
The penny has dropped. How do we stop movement of people and yet still grow process and transport food? Us farmers are always fixing stuff. We need parts for machinery constantly. If we isolate everybody for too long food production will suffer folks.

I was thinking the same thing, i'm waiting on parts out of Aussie at the moment. I can get by without them but rather not. They should be here tomorrow. Meanwhile the droughts rolls on into autumn.

The most surprising thing given all our understanding and knowledge, that it takes a year or more to get a medical solution (vaccine). Lives are hanging in the balance so they need to get on with it.

In reality I just don't think it is going to take that long, maybe 8-9 months instead. Governments and medical experts will take risks and expedite it.

I can see the vaccine being fast tracked. Humans are being tested in Australia and the United States at the present time.

Nzd US 57.38 7.15am

Dow under 19000 7.20am

I think we need to accept this disease is here and will cause massive suffering and disruption. It will arrive in volume before a vaccine does. The key is now not to stop it, but to delay severe onset so advances in treatment arrive, and to flatten the curve so hospitals have capacity. That is going to be massively challenging, and there is a point at which “stopping it” diverts resources from that task. We will need new hospital beds, respirators, and trained volunteers. That’s the Dunkirk analogy - a country that moves from denial and panic to constructive action to deal with a present reality.

The Britsh had Winston Churchill. We have a bunch of ex Student Politicians.

He was a God.

Ashley Bloomfield health dude in answer to Duncan Garner about people coming off planes. Everyone fills out a health declaration and can check on our website if they have furthur questions. Faceplant

To little to late... Lies lies lies. Socialism is the name of the game. That's the failed response from Jacinda and her government.

Its a shame we had Nine Years of Nothing from the previous government otherwise, relevant refernce, we would have had more new hospitals and better facilities in existing hospitals.

Health spending increased under the last government compared with that of the previous labour administration. Your assertion of 'nine years of nothing' investment in the health system is not supported by the facts.

We will close the border soon. Stupid young spend nothing tourists just dont care and are still e expecting to do what they want.

We must close the border now, before it is too late. And close it to everybody, no exceptions.

Does anyone know how the case in Samoa that came from Auckland caught it?

The ministry of health is acting as a political organisation. No testing data included with yesterdays announcement of 8 New Cases. Failure to release details on those cases until late last night. Apparently 500 tests underway Tuesday. Were none of those results available yesterday. What about the results of Mondays tests? 600 new tests today? Where have all of these suddenly symptomatically qualifying people come from?
On Morning report today. Dr Bloomfield refused to give any information on the likely number of new cases he will announce in his media update today. Although he clearly has the data. The media need to stop competing with each other and select someone they all respect to ask all of the questions at the daily press conference and keep pressing on each question until they get an answer. We are all big boys and girls. We can handle the truth.

We need the truth

But the coalition has an army of spin doctors to control message via their friends and ex-colleagues in the media. When you have and army your instinct is to put them to use.

The obvious thing to do for those Kiwis who are returning from other countries is too isolate them in medical facilities immediately rather than self- isolate. Look at this scenario where the family flew into one of our main airports then got on a domestic flight and then after arriving home sent their son to high school. As a consequence, the school has shut down for a number of days and we dont know how many other kiwis they have infected from them arriving in the country to being in their residence and community.

Campervans, Caravans and Tents.

Early February there was an extraordinary act of political theatre to fly back to NZ. 150 people on a special charter flight from China and place them in Quarantine on a military base for 14 days. Were any of those people tested? Were any of them positive? Now the government is allowing thousands of people to enter the country from areas and countries where community transmission was established weeks ago and relying on a system similar to a rural honesty box to keep the population safe.

Anybody able to say when the chiefs and crusaders arrived home.
It would appear to me on what i have read that they didn't go into self isolation straight away.

The Government should stop all passenger international air flights now, this is no ordinary virus, look how the numbers of infected have jumped, also encouraging 80000 to come home now is a mistake, the infected cases will really jump, the government must get serious on this NOW, not tomorrow, it could be TOO LATE

I agree 100%.

2 year old in South Africa with WuFlu had just come from NZ. Suspected case in Samoa had just come from NZ. NZ has only just started testing more than 10 per day. Expecting the infection figures released over coming days will be very bad news.

The article about the South African child is a bit vague. It sounds like it was actually a local transmission that occurred in SA, not one that he arrived in SA with.

"The boy is one of the youngest to have recently contracted the virus in the region, according to South Africa's Health Department."

"Today we have a further increase of six local transmission cases. As part of tracking and tracing, we have collated background information on how these patients were infected. We will provide more information to the public to make them aware of how these local transmissions occur."

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Health has confirmed 30,000 swabs are in the country to test for COVID-19.
Chances they can get any more from overseas? Who knows. There could be a few other countries who want them as well. They have clearly been rationing testing in expectation of a boom in cases.
A few days ago if the borders were closed down and there was already community testing for suspected cases then 30000 swabs may have been enough. But since then. Thousands of new arrivals. Some of them tourists who made a conscious decision to still travel here. Many of whom may be infected and maybe self-isolating. We may be screwed. Hopefully, I am wrong.

If the PM and PMs depart cared about NZers and NZ way of life they would be testing and have been testing for 4 weeks.

Just went into my farm machinery shop and they are in quarantine, i was in there two days ago. Staff had been in Aussie.

I see all worker wanted signs are down.

8 more to bring total to 28 now. But Italians report 10x as many infected without symptoms. Runaway growth in NZ is inevitable and immediate now.

This is what a country led by scientists and engineers can achieve.

Hong Kong is going to require all new arrivals to wear a smart/tracking wristband;

Smart move.

A guide to survival from Manhattan Contrarian: environmental incorrectness: no use of PT, use single-use everything possible then discard, wind the thermostat to mid-20's......think of the children....

Here is an example of a crisis management element of NZ response that needs to WTFU.

And the question on every suburbanite's lips: Am I safer than in some shoebox apartment where everyone has touched the door handles, the elevator buttons, and sneezed in the lobby? James Lileks is of the Affirmative.

Immediately ban all international inbound flights. Nobody allowed in, until the risk is down to acceptable levels. This would include Kiwi citizens. If they are still overseas and stranded, tough luck: they have had plenty of time and plenty of warnings. Only exceptions for medical personnel.