Lack of 'whole of household' self-isolation is the fatal mistake the Government is still making. They are pussy-footing around, says Keith Woodford

Lack of 'whole of household' self-isolation is the fatal mistake the Government is still making. They are pussy-footing around, says Keith Woodford

History may well record that today, 19 March, is the day that New Zealand lost the plot in stamping down on COVID-19. 

Not only have confirmed cases risen again, this time from 20 to 28, up from six less than a week ago.  More importantly, in the 24 hours from midday today there are 22 wide-body jets arriving into New Zealand from Asia and the Americas, and 47 Airbus 320 and similar flights coming in from Australia. I know this from checking the airport arrivals boards.

A rough total of today’s arrivals, based on a load factor of 75 percent, is 12,000 people. Even at 50 percent load factor, that would be 8000 people. Although these people go into self-isolation, the households they belong to do not have to do so.

So far this week there have probably been well over 30,000 people coming into New Zealand.  Almost certainly, there will be multiple cases of COVID brewing in some of their households. Every day, the new arrivals pose greater risk than the previous day’s arrivals. Yet all other members of those households can continue going about their daily lives. This is crazy.

If we had put household restrictions on all of the people in these households, then in a few days we would be telling a different story than what is going to unfold. I say again, this is crazy.

Our Prime Minister has referred to Taiwan as the exemplar. On Sunday 15 March she said on TV1 that "We're going to follow, pretty closely, the Taiwanese model. They worked up a framework for mass gatherings that's been quite successful,"  

At that time there were 53 cases of COVID-19 in Taiwan. Now, four days later there are 100, with 23 new cases there today.

I have previously pointed out how some things in Taiwan society are very different to New Zealand.  They have multiple measures in place that we do not have, yet still their numbers are now growing fast.

When I listen to the Prime Minister’s words about Taiwan as an exemplar, I ask myself who is feeding her this information? It has to be her advisers.


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There is only one country in the world that has brought COVID-19 under control and that is China. We need to look again at how they did it.

This morning I received an email from my friend Lew Dagger in China. Lew has been living in China for close on 20 years as an agricultural project manager. I have visited Lew in China on multiple occasions.

Lew lives in the province of Yunnan, and currently manages a big project in the south of the province, close to the border with Myanmar. It is a great area for tropical horticulture.

What follows are Lew’s words. They were written as a personal email to me, but given their importance, I am reprinting them here with Lew’s permission.

I thought I would give you a little update on what is happening here in Yunnan and some of the effects that we are seeing due to the international situation.

 There is no question that day-to-day down here in Jinghong things are normalizing. The cars are back, the off-key singing is happening in the KTV (Karaoke) and outside bars, and the restaurants are open. On Saturday night I had my first sit-down meal at a restaurant for two months.

Schools are still not back and there are still quite a few hotels closed due to tourists not back yet. Government is now pushing people to get out and dine and support local businesses.

The national new infection levels across all China are somewhere between 20 and 30 people each day and the death rates are in the low teens, but there is a real fear of the virus coming in from the international sources, so that whole area has tightened up.

Two cases were reported in Kunming this week, with one from Spain and one from France (local Chinese returning). The one from Spain resulted in 550 people being put in Government quarantine. Yesterday the new rule from Yunnan authorities is if you come from overseas, then immediate strict quarantine is required for 14 days and that is quite different to New Zealand-style self-quarantine. 

As a foreigner, I am finding that I am treated more suspiciously, as no one knows where you come from, how you got here and how long you have been here. A couple of my colleagues found this earlier in the week when they were on local flights. Security targeted them and then a long process to prove they are OK. 

However, given the economic and social cost to the Chinese people to date, you have to support the tough line.

For me, it’s almost like the whole virus thing has come back due to what is happening in NZ. Clearly with family and friends there it is a worry, so it is like entering the second cycle.

Given the actions that I see the NZ Government taking, I think NZ is at about the same stage as China was on the 26th January, so the bad news Keith, is you still have a way to go!

Lew’s words are entirely consistent with what I am hearing from elsewhere in my Kiwi-China network.  China has acted very firmly and now life is coming back to normality. The Kiwis over there now feel increasingly sorry for us back in New Zealand, and they worry for their New Zealand kin.

As I have said previously, every day here in New Zealand that we delay, pussy-footing around, simply means more pain as a society that we are going to have to bear.


*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 kbwoodford@gmail.com 

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40 Comments

Look at the chord on that A380 wing root, hard to believe it can get off the ground...but the designers found a way, with problem solving. Like the aircraft engineers I think its better to problem solve than panic. I have heard that many asian countries with far higher populations are infact doing the opposite of the lockdown approach and are rigorously testing their populations who are relatively free to wander about, identify infected population THEN isolate only those, sounds counter intuitive but I can see the logic. Its entirely possible that vast quantities of the population may be no where near points of infection so why idle their productive capacity?

Think so too. Hawaii is doing OK even though tourists much bigger numbers and high density population in Honolulu environments. But it is strange. Why now. If it is necessary now why wasn’t it necessary and done 10 - 14 days ago. Hell the horizon wasn’t exactly clean & clear, much black clouds on an oncoming wind, wouldn’t need a telescope to spot it. He who hesitates is lost.

This afternoon I had a long chat to my Agriculture Consultant mate in Western Australia. He has strong connections to the medical sector. He asked about our numbers which he though not so bad but then asked about numbers being tested. When I explained his response 'well you are stuffed'. All with knowledge say go hard and go early (by that I mean actually doing what’s need and not empty promises). Then IF you get on top of it, back off.
3 weeks ago my daughter and partner were in Morocco and watching the situation. Spain had 2 cases and we thought that was an overland escape route to the UK. Like that would have worked. They got out last Thursday on one of the last few flights and are now genuinely self-isolating by the seaside in the family crib.
Can anyone explain why decisive action is not being taken? It just seems bizarre.

Its fair to say your experience on the continent is not like here in nz. Two axis, we don't population density or movement of population through our country as in for example London, where more than our headcount use the underground each day. Notwithstanding it is good that the borders have been closed, the image of the cavalier indian male arrival at Ak international broadcast on national tv where he taunted the self isolation protocols...unacceptable. I hope he has been deported for his troubles....

it might also be fair to say we have stopped listening to keith,started off rational and well researched with a touch of humour,but now seems obsessive and alarmist.

no, K is simply being the questioning type he has always been and I support anyone who asks the hard questions. The problem being not everyone who observes the questioning type has the logical capacity required to rationalise the fear away which is why so many people are panic buying...I think Pak N save owners should be hauled in for not putting restrictions on their stores...disgraceful profiteering!

1. The incubation period is up to 14 days, with most getting symptoms after about 5 days.
2. You are infectious once you start getting symptoms, and for the 48 hours before symptoms first appear.
3. If someone arrives in your household and is immediately infectious but doesn't yet display any symptoms and you catch the virus off them, then your ~5 day count down to symptoms starts.
4. After 48 hours, your guest is now starting to report symptoms. At this point you should assume they have COVID-19 and go into isolation yourself and obviously get that person tested.
5. If that person tests positive for COVID-19, then everyone will continue self-isolation.

The key point is that when your guest shows symptoms, you're still going to be ~24 hours behind them before you start to become infectious yourself.

Obviously this timeline is using averages, some people may have a shorter incubation period, but I suspect the 48 hour window of infectiousness before showing symptoms probably already has a wide safety margin built in and in reality the infectious window might be more like 12 hours. It's also highly unlikely you would catch the illness the moment the infected person enters your household - more likely it'd take a day or two, and if you're keeping distance within your own household then it's quite possible that you wouldn't catch it at all.

Overall I think Keith is being alarmist here.

On the other hand it would be a pretty easy policy for the government to implement that is not likely to dis-proportionality affect the economy or communities in general. But to me it seems more like an isolation strategy that may have limited actual impact in reality.

Lanthanide - I don't think Keith is being at all alarmist. Visualise the following scenario -- There are six people in a household, mum and dad and four children. Mum's brother and his wife arrive from overseas. They are asymptomatic. They hug and kiss their nieces and nephews, then settle in for their fourteen days of semi isolation, catching up on family news with sister and brother in law. The children go out to their various activities. Three days later the visitors exhibit symptoms. The whole family decides to self isolate, but it is too late because the children, all teenagers, have associated with their friends in the meantime, with each infecting x others. The danger period is obviously when a carrier is infectious but asymptomatic. If we adopt the concept of total isolation where everyone in a household that receives an overseas visitor or returnee isolates themselves for a minimum fourteen days then that risk is eliminated.

"The whole family decides to self isolate, but it is too late"
If you read my timeline, then you will see that the chances of the newly infected themselves becoming contagious at the same time the visitors start displaying symptoms just doesn't happen because of the incubation period.

Lanthanide,
I am in part agreement with the logic as set out in your five points. But I don't think these things are as neat and tidy as how you have laid them out here. To start with, the evidence from China seems to be that people can be infective some days before noticing any symptoms. And whoever gets infected may themselves be shedding the virus - and hence infective - within one or two days. It is very confusing in the inital days of an infection as to whether it is COVID-19 or simply a cold or even hay fever. Also, the tests use PCR methodology and so results do take time. Also, there can be false negatives with PCR tests - this has been a real bugbear with the Mycoplasma bovis prgram. With PCR tests, a positive is always a true positve, but a negative can be a false negative.
KeithW

I agree, the real question to ask, Keith, is whether China has really got on top of the virus i.e. is past its peak and now in decline; if so then we would want to know exactly how they achieved this. Incidentally, I read a few days ago where they were actually sending a medical team to help in Italy; I'm wondering how this is panning out.
Has China been approached by our health or foreign affairs departments to actually ask them how they achieved this apparent reversal. This may be difficult for the government to do because being a coalition government the various elements are probably pulling in different directions....Chris Faafoi probably not wanting Pacific Islanders stopped at the border, NZ First's anti-immigration stance of not wanting to cosy up to China and Peters and Jones seemingly AWOL over the past couple of weeks, and the Greens seemingly shell-shocked. National seems completely out of their depth (with list MP Goldsmith their only MP looking likely). If only there was was someone of Michael Cullen's stature helping out. I don't think Robertson can go beyond his role as chief accountant.
But the nub of your friend's letter is where he says in China the quarantine (isolation) is imposed by the state and not the individual's responsibility (self-isolation) as it is in NZ. Yes, Jacinda has an aversion to being seen as authoritarian which is exactly the quality we do need at the moment.

"To start with, the evidence from China seems to be that people can be infective some days before noticing any symptoms."

The latest evidence is that this period is 48 hours, which is the advice the MOH is operating on.

"Also, the tests use PCR methodology and so results do take time."

The government is turning these tests around in less than 24 hours.

"Also, there can be false negatives with PCR tests"

I'm not sure how many samples they take when doing "a test", it may be a few, which would help to reduce false negatives. Also if they are testing two or more people, eg if there are two travellers, then the chances that they'd both give a false negative result goes down substantially. That's not of any benefit for single travellers of course.

There is this statement from the bottom of this stuff article that says "A ministry spokesperson said family members do not need to self-isolate as well, unless otherwise advised, as "people do not become infected and infectious instantaneously," they said." https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/health/119985967/coronavirus-people-in-...

Unfortunately its only attributed to a "spokesperson" and this article is also from 3rd of March so we should be cautious that it could be stale information. On the other hand they are still giving this same advice so that suggests their understanding has not changed.

Lanthanide,
One swab means one test.
The PCR test can only work if the virus is already shedding.
And it needs to be shedding close to the site of the swab which is typically the throat.
It can be present in the lungs but if not also lying on the surface of the throat, then it will not be picked up.
By the time a test comes back a person may well have changed from non-shedding to shedding, particularly if initally asymptomatic.
The laboratory testing takes time because first the supply of RNA/DNA has to be amplified through a multi-stage process.
KeithW

11
up

Well, we simply aren't testing to anything like the degree needed to have any notion of community transmission. Easy to say 'No CT' when there's close to zero testing. My own close relative, in good isolation, two days on from onset of symptoms which are assessed as warranting a test, is still waiting. Reports 'breathless if I try to do anything at all'. We simply don't know the extent of positives. Because we aren't testing.....

Is your own close relative an example of community transmission (if test comes back positive), or have they been overseas or in direct contact with someone from overseas?

Can't understand why they haven't been able to get tested - is the idea that the test kit needs to come to them (given they are in isolation)?

One would assume every hospital would have test kits, but I can understand why they'd rather infectious people were tested off site.

Kate, relative is tested as of this morning. Yes, flew in from Melbourne last Sunday (cancelled F1 meeting there). Doc suggests may also be community-acquired pneumonia. We await the test results.
All self-isolating atm (including me and mine, as we picked them up from the airport...). Lack of time-appropriate testing availability is a huge flaw in the system. Bound to result in clusters of infection, as asymptomatic-but-infectious carriers are everywhere and invisible without widespread testing.
Why testing hasn't been mandated for all pax on incoming flights since (say) 1 March, is beyond me. FFS, it's just a matter of pulling the manifests, and getting on the phones (could use now-redundant AirNZ travel/sales peeps to do this easily, one would have thought).
Which just leads to idle speculation about the extent of actual Planning that has gone into this whole episode....

Update: relative and partner have tested Negative. SI in force, of course. False negatives are possible (see article).

Waymad, see my comment below re relative humidity.

Keith - don't you get the feeling that public pronouncements are for the benefit of the stay-at-home public, with the reality being that the actual rules for the travelling public are much more lax. The announcement on tonight's news that our borders will be closed to all non NZers from 11.59 pm is a case in point. It was immediately qualified as being the latest boarding time for travellers on flights to NZ. So we will still be getting arrivals for about the next 36 hours at least.

wee willy winkie,
I think in this case there is a practical issue that some time is needed to get these decisions in place. In practice it means all foreign people who are on this afternoon's and evening flights out of Asia and North America don't get caught in mid-air.
I actually agree with the decision, but think it could have and should have been brought in some days ago.
KeithW

Keith - so do I. I wrote on here about three weeks ago that then was the opportune time. If we have a question for government it is " What took you so long?"

Wrong Keith, Couple voices in tourism, education, business & immigration.. started muttering that NZ is discriminating towards China for example. We've all been told by sir JK/Blue strong marching band now lead by Simon & they business associates on the Blue bank, in doing so it will be detrimental to our positive past hard work that bring prosper relationships, as per indicated by our GDP numbers and housing wealth prosperity index. BUT this is just my own view? how many of readers on this site realised? this is a once in a life time opportunity to reset NZ economy in the right way, following the rest of world herd actions - so? we cannot blame Labour as part of 'this current deficit of decision making process?' it's actually harnessing the future/potential brilliant opportunity... what the article analysed? it's the 'skin' conditions.. other real healing process need to happen in place, deep down.. long recovery.. then sustainable future growth.

Apologise to Ed. for re-post this, below Keith article, as some readers may need to know who is this Covid19 rock star:

Team from China/Beijing disclose three infected patients findings to the world, study their lungs liquid (Bronchoalveolar Lavage).
They divided the liquid into two;
First one for potential isolation of Pneumonia causing particle.
Second part is to isolate the genetic material, of questionable bug/s.
To prove something that causes damage to the lungs; they took lung cancer cell from recent surgery case to test the regrowth of lung cell, in controlled environment, mixed with the lung liquid from the above patients then push it into filtration towards the sample lung cell & other body tissue cells. Then monitor the Cytopathic effect (the damaged lung cells but not on any other tissue cells). Bingo! something caused 'things/inflammation' to the lungs. But what is the form of this 'things'?
They check the genetic material using the latest NGS/next generation sequencing technique (multiply the available genetic samples) to do the comparative sequencing against database of germs (bacterial, viruses & fungii), what do they found? the material which close resemble to RNA type, coronavirus that caused SARS (2003) & MERS (2012) both originated from Bat coronavirus, but this one experiencing the genetical recombination (at this stage you may call it as 'mutated/adaptable'). It's 'similar BUT not identical'. One thing for sure, they're carrying the same back bone of molecular structure, Bat_SARS-like_coronavirus|bat-SL-CoVZC45. Genome of coronavirus wuhan 2019-NCov is not idential to coronavirus SARS & MERS.
This is where the case get interesting. Coronavirus got two important genes; Firstly, RDRP gene (RNA dependent RNA polymerase). This gene is functioning to multiply the RNA virus for the virus itself. When you check, the structure still the same. But there's a distinctive differential in one gene that play important role for the infection, we called gene S (spike). Corona virus naming is based on multiply horns which resemble crown. These multiple horns or Spikes is the actual coronavirus protein which functioned to attach itself to the target cell.
The 'original Bat coronavirus is unable' to infect human as their S gene structure protein coding is unable to pair up with the surface of human cell protein.
The base of coronavirus wuhan 2019-NCov contains S gene structure that has key to 'unlock human receptor protein' that able to target human cell. That is the critical differential sequence for those clever scientist to study & develop an effective Vaccine or Inhibitor that able to block the infection process.
In the case of SARS coronavirus, the gene S structure code able to tie up to human receptor protein ACE2(Angiotensin Convertase Enzyme), We prove the correlation by re-engineered the Mice which no longer has ACE2 protein on their cell surface, and it's protected from SARS coronavirus infection. Cell that don't have ACE2 protein reception has avoided SARS (Severe Acute respiratory syndrome).
For the case of MERS coronavirus, the gene S tied up to human receptor protein DPP4(Dipeptidyl Peptidase 4).
As well as HIV/AIDS virus, it tied up to infected Human T cell via combination of specific receptors which are: CCR5/CXCR4 (CC chemokine receptor).
The scientist hold the spread of HIV cell infection in human AIDS patient by variant of cell transplant within the gene structure of CCR5 code barrier.
This coronavirus wuhan (now named 2019-NCov/Covid-19) only resemble of 68% match to the other coronavirus Bat variant (including SARS & MERS), which means? there are around about 30% structural gene S differential that able to target the host protein. Why differ?
RNA virus such as coronavirus usually have the level of 'typo error' on their level of replication to process/enhance their genetic numbers, as compare to the normal DNA virus, which knowingly has a proof reading enzyme. That 'typo error' is the answer as to why they are prone to mutation/better word is 'adaptable'.
From deduction of isolation process on their genome back bone structure, it is 'closely estimated' that if SARS came from Bat, MERS came from Camel, then this NCov-19/Covid-19 closer probability is came from Snake. This is just the base article with heaps of Genome coding supplied & can confused reader, now we've heard of Pangolin creature to be drag on - Anyway, it's a point to know where the protein being hosted to recognise further the transmission mechanism - in some anecdotal findings it started to exhibit a heuristics behaviour, now the impact can be seen worldwide, all hands on deck to give an idea for inhibitors/generic nuke vaccine for the 'strain' - I put it in quotes.. as this tiny rock star is varying/adaptable? when try to attach it's corona..this one is a good pretender, ..politicians? (he he joking Ed.)

Once again, Keith hits the nail on the head with sound reasoning and logic. He should be advising the Government on this. I'd hope that the more intelligent among our population would understand the need for a whole household to self isolate if they have a member who's at risk of carrying the virus.

MOH is controlling the information flow. Take hospital preparedness and resource availability as just one important example. Any difficult question is answered with a preprepared media trainers statement that in no way answers the question. The followup question is then answered with sorry I don't have that information with me at the moment. Ergo. Yes, I have the information. It is in my head right now. That is why I can't sleep at night. But I have been told not to tell you.

The one big point that is totally being ignored by everyone is the fact that viruses are far less transmission able if the Relative Humidity is between 40 and 60%.

We all know how crappy our houses are which means our indoor air quality is poor too.

But there are two times every year that that is not so much of any issue ie This time of year mid-Autumn and mid Spring. So right now most of NZ outdoor temp and humidity is sitting in the zone that allows our indoor environment to be kept at safe levels, without us being consciously aware of it.

As it gets colder outside, this will cause our relatively warmer indoor relative humidity will drop and when gets below 30% will allow viruses to be their most active.

Keith, that's why your friend in a warmer more humid environment has less to worry about.

If there is one thing you could do for yourself, family and friends make sure you keep your indoor temp between 18 and 22C and your relative humidity between 40 and 60%.

With winter coming on, and our houses being designed to fail, the potential for this virus to spread is huge.

Keith - I feel somewhat when you write I can smell the Yuan on your breathe. (I also note that your byline shows you have recently added "epidemiology" to some of the many skills you have picked up at the Mike Hosking PHD school.)

eg "China has acted very firmly" - would you call sitting on the disease for over a month and imprisoning concerned doctors to shut them up acting firmly.

Last week you were praising JA for acting fast and early.
Now you are running her govt down (Monday morning quarterback anyone?) while praising China for acting slow and criminally. Xi should be imprisoned for all the worldwide deaths he has caused.

You have a "Herd Mentality" if your sitting around waiting for the government to tell you what to do. You need to have been thinking for yourself for weeks now. No need for hindsight on this one, we were lagging China for months so anyone smart enough could see where this was ultimately heading from the health perspective. Whats proving to be much harder is plotting the economic impact with any degree of accuracy.

Carlos67,
What we are seeing today is that some local authorities are now running ahead of our Central Government. It is good to see this happening but the crucial actions do need to be taken at the level of the'national herd'.
KeithW

All new arrivals should be quarantined for 14 days in Government facilities. That is the only way to contain further transmission. Should have been done 10/14 days before.

So what about those who got CV and have recovered ?
Are they a risk to others or are they also at risk ?
Are they immune forever ?

"There is only one country in the world that has brought COVID-19 under control and that is China. We need to look again at how they did it"...

I'm going to disagree with you this time, Keith. New Zealand or even the entire West is not able to replicate what China has done as the reaction to an outbreak due to the cultural and political reasons. Singapore, Taiwan and Korea all have a good grip on the situation, they don't reply on forced lockdown but transparent and constant updates to the population. Being transparent is the key, we could have avoided this entire mess if China had it in the first place. China is now under the huge pressure of getting the 2nd wave. A few suburbs of my hometown went back to semi lockdown after finding new infections, and these new cases were all from overseas. It is an inevitable result of forced lockdown and a pandemic. We need to think about it too.

"China has acted very firmly and now life is coming back to normality." No, there is no such thing as "normality" in this kind of pandemic. Until we have a vaccine, social distancing and self-isolation are going to be here for a while. In that sense, the population size, density, primary residence and commuting style are our advantages. We need to put things into perspective when looking for counter-measures.

I think the biggest problem for NZ will be the economy rather than the virus itself. We are a small country and have a lot of dependencies on other big players.

https://www.nzherald.co.nz/world/news/article.cfm?c_id=2&objectid=12318358

This guy was a Martyr to the cause....and should be given the true meaning of a Saint.....He may have saved the World...by speaking out and up loud and clear. We should never, never be afraid to follow suit.

To deny again his true part in History, would be a mockery to all Martyrs who went before.

NZ Chinese,
I think we are going to see further tightening being necessary in both Singapore and Taiwan as incidence levels seem to be now increasing for both of them.
I also agree that life in China is not yet getting back to total normalcy. Each time they find a new case they will have to put in restrictions around that. Your comment about 'a few suburbs' in your hometown 'going into semi-lockdown' after new cases from overseas reflects that. My understanding is that all returnees now have to go into Govt quarantine for 14 days to reduce that need.
KeithW

Well Keith, as per this morning WHO try to remind S/Korea, China, Singapore not to clap hands cheering up 'success' - we still not yet confirm to have effective vaccine/inhibitor for this bug, yet anecdotally there's a report that couple already released patient is actually can still be tested positive.. after 7-8-9 test, past the 24 days isolation even, the initial test could still produce false negative. Depends on the current strength of patients immune systems, I'm not sure to exacting the 14 days isolation is the golden rule here. This bug, can be annual winter visitor for all nations on this planet, and when it pay a visit.. the younger generations can be a good strong carrier for months. But anyhow, can you dig further about the nightmarish dream/scenario? - What happen if those unruly radical mindset of the left or right winger? - try to spread this modest bug by means of using the new worldwide addictions trend - by vaping it out in public, as what they do.

I agree to some extent with Keith. The Government is a bit behind the eight ball, but well ahead of the pack when you look at most other countries.

Closing the borders is good. All new arrivals should be tested and compulsory quarantined until proven negative. The big problem is the people that have already arrived. We simply have no idea whether there is community transmission here. I would be very surprised if there isn't.

In addition to closing borders draconian measures should be in place until we have an accurate picture of how prevalant the virus is in the community.

I would suggest immediately closing schools, universities, pubs, restaurants and all but food shops and pharmacies temporarily until we have randomly tested at least 50,000 people in the community.

Once we have an accurate picture of what we are dealing with we can then take decisions around whether such draconian measures can be lifted or need to be tightened. The economic and health cost will be small compared to what it will cost if this takes hold here. Being an island will make no difference at that stage.

I urge you to have a look at this site to understand how the growth becomes exponential and hard to control once it takes hold. In spite of the drastic measures in place in Italy, for example, there is no sign of any slow down there with number of cases and deaths still growing each day.

Spot on -- half a measure is no measure at all

I have a friend returned from Germany on tuesday -- displaying clear matching symptoms -- advised officials when they landed -- picked up drove home to the BOP - with husband - they are responsible so have self isolated together-- and finally today the MOH has arranged testing -- yes thats right 3 days after arriving from a know hotspot with symptoms are we arranging a test - so by tomorrow she will be a statistic --

I fully support a total ban - except citizens - but we have thousands of tourists runing around not self isolating -- and many NZ returnees who have also thumbed there nose up -- Quarentine may be harsh but it seems to have worked - and nothign else has -- tough love or else

Its odd Jacinda would compare us to Singapore... given they are enforcing the self isolation.... with three phone calls daily and random spot checks by police. If you arent self-isolating you are slapped with a SGD10,000 fine.

Are we doing that .. no. We are allowing ppl to enter the country and asking politely to self-isolate. We need to enforce isolation.

All we are doing now is waiting for cases of community spread and then they will need for more draconion measures. Its time to get ahead of this.

Dr Bloomfield just advised the Media there is no shortage of PPE in New Zealand. In fact we have a factory in Whanganui that can make all the masks we need. Is it this factory?
https://www.qsisafety.com/
Are the masks they actually make in New Zealand N95 or just the medical procedure masks?
How many N95 masks have they got now? What is their daily manufacturing capacity as of now?
Maybe someone from the media could give them a call and ask.

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