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New Zealand’s current coronavirus border policies fail to reflect the current Northern Hemisphere surge in cases and the consequent enhanced risks to COVID-19 management in New Zealand

New Zealand’s current coronavirus border policies fail to reflect the current Northern Hemisphere surge in cases and the consequent enhanced risks to COVID-19 management in New Zealand

There are big contradictions within New Zealand’s coronavirus border policies. There is potential for these contradictions to become more serious with Northern Hemisphere COVID-19 levels now exponentiating upwards again.

Prime Minister Ardern has been saying in recent weeks that there is a high likelihood of further outbreaks in New Zealand and that New Zealanders must be ready for it. What we are not hearing is official acknowledgement that as the Northern Hemisphere approaches its winter, the risks are highly likely to increase further.

Given that new outbreaks are already to be expected, then the situation is not under control. Without further actions, the prospects are going to further deteriorate.

A quick analysis of worldometer data shows that the seven-day case rate in the United Kingdom is now five times what it was in July, and clearly on an exponential trail. Gatherings are now restricted to six people.

 In France, the seven-day rolling average is now 20 times what it dropped to in June. Spain’s daily rate, with new restrictions now in place, is still more than ten times what it was back in June.

Germany, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Belgium and almost everywhere else in Europe are now also on strong upward curves although not always as dramatically as the aforementioned countries. Almost everywhere it is coming again. There are no readily acceptable solutions for Europe.

The American situation is more complex, with the overall pattern being influenced by the recent declines in the Sunbelt States. However, at least half of American States are back on an upward curve.

As for Asia and much of South America, it is clear that case rates are currently at record levels.  In India, the daily recorded new case rate now exceeds 100,000 on most days, with the real rate undoubtedly much higher. In Indonesia, the capital Jakarta is back in lockdown with the heath system bucking.

Quite simply the proportion of travellers arriving in New Zealand who can be expected to test positive is on the rise. And therein lies the problem. The more travellers who are carrying the disease, then the greater the risk of an outbreak.

When things go wrong, the tendency is to blame operational mistakes. The reality is that such mistakes always occur in large scale operations. The New Zealand border operation, with between 400 and 500 people entering on most days, is very large scale.  Yes, mistakes will happen.

We have learned many things over the last six months both from our own New Zealand experience and also by looking overseas. First, we learned that Level Four restrictions, combined with most Kiwis playing their part in the Team of Five Million, really do work. Second, we are learning right now that it is much harder to shut down an outbreak under Levels Three and Two. Also, there is considerable evidence of fatigue and frustration developing in relation to acceptance of COVID-19 restrictions.

The current Auckland outbreak is now closing in on 180 cases, all coming from a single escape episode of the COVID-19 organism. It has created a cluster approximately twice the size of any of the prior clusters, and it is still propagating. The national cost of that one escape of the organism will clearly be in the billions of dollars, plus great human cost. 

Going forward, and now knowing what we do, combined with increasing difficulties getting everyone to play their part in the Team of Five Million as grumpiness and frustration increase, then surely we need to take renewed assessment of the situation.

Most of the people currently arriving in New Zealand come from Australia. Clearly these people need to go into managed isolation, but there is also a need to recognise that the risk from each of these persons is much lower than from almost everywhere else in the world.

So, this is not to argue for any relaxation in relation to Australia. But it is to argue that each person people coming from most other parts of the world needs to be assumed as being individually infectious and managed accordingly, and hence go into the highest level of quarantine until proven otherwise.

Currently there are two operational levels of isolation in New Zealand. There is the standard level which people go into when they arrive in New Zealand on the assumption that they are most likely negative for the disease. Then there is the higher level of isolation for people who are demonstrated to be infected. The argument here is that if the risks from people arriving from Europe, Asia and the Americas are to be minimised, then each person arriving from these regions has to be assumed as infected, and hence go into full quarantine, until proven otherwise.  That may well reduce the numbers that can be accepted each day.

It is now increasingly evident that the next six months are going to be critical. By March 2021, or maybe earlier, it will be evident as to whether a successful vaccine has been or is going to be developed. Timelines for the rollout should be known. In the interim, New Zealand cannot afford an ongoing series of outbreaks like the present Auckland outbreak that has shut down much of the economy and normal life across the country.

If there is no success in developing a vaccine within the next six months – and personally I am putting considerable hope in the Moderna vaccine based on messenger RNA (mRNA), but it could be another vaccine – then that will be the time when alternative strategies will be needed. One way or another, it is reasonable to expect increasing clarity well before that.

Our Prime Minister has been adamant that all New Zealand citizens have a right to come back to New Zealand. As a general principle, that cannot be argued against. It is a legal fact. However, there are many basic rights that have to be constrained for the greater good. For example, all New Zealanders have the fundamental right to travel freely within New Zealand, but most have accepted restrictions on internal travel for much of the last six months in the interests of that greater good.

Something else we have also learned over the last six months is that the New Zealand export economy, apart from the service industries of tourism and education, is remarkably resilient. New Zealand has shown that it can survive and indeed prosper without people criss-crossing the world all of the time, as long as cargo continues to flow, in the same way that it has been doing. 

If New Zealand could get back to Level One, and stay there with extra tight borders from all high-risk regions of the world, then Government could focus on the specific groups who are disadvantaged, with the rest of the economy humming along.

The one country that I have purposefully not mentioned until now is China. Although some people are reluctant to acknowledge it, the evidence is clear that China has an exceptionally low level of COVID-19 relative to its population.

If matters were a simple case of logic, then people arriving from China would be treated like those coming from Australia, and placed in the current level of managed isolation. However, sometimes it can be too much to ask that decisions are made only on logic.

Seasonal workers from the Pacific Islands are also low risk. The existing isolation rules would seem appropriate for them, with similar isolation perhaps being appropriate before they return to their Pacific Island homes, depending on New Zealand’s COVID situation at that time. I have long been an advocate for seasonal work schemes for Pacific Islanders, ever since undertaking investigations on behalf of the Australian Government more than 20 years ago. These schemes are not just for the benefit of New Zealand (or Australia), but as the best way to stimulate bottom-up development in the Island communities. It is win-win.

At the risk of repetition, there is a need to emphasise that the suggestion here is not to exclude New Zealand citizens. Nor is it to argue against the compassionate needs of people caught outside the country who, for various reasons, do not currently have citizenship or permanent citizenship, but were on that pathway when caught outside the country.

Rather, what is being suggested is that restrictions on people entering New Zealand have to be proportional to the specific risk. Also, it is very clear that the risks associated with people from some parts of the world are many times greater than those coming from some other regions such as Australia and most of the Pacific Islands.

So, the argument is not to loosen the requirements for those coming from Australia or any other similarly low risk regions, but to increase the level of management for those coming from higher risk parts of the world. That might include daily monitoring of those from high-risk regions in the initial period following release from quarantine so as to minimise the risks from false negatives. However, the biggest risk may will be from quarantine-management staff who are in contact with returnees while the returnees are in quarantine. Unfortunately, all of these factors emphasise the reality that the number of high-risk returnees does need to be constrained.

If New Zealand continues with its current systems, then there are two scenarios. New Zealand may succeed in keeping out COVID-19 through a combination of luck and good management. Alternatively, New Zealand may go the way of Victoria with one or more further outbreaks and never succeed getting back to Level One. That would be a real disaster.

Of course, there are some who say that we have to learn to live with this virus. That may indeed be what does finally happen. But in making such judgments it is important to acknowledge the mayhem and death associated with that policy.

One of the bigger flaws is to use Sweden as an example of living with the virus. The reality is that life in Sweden is far from normal. It is just that to a considerable extent they rely on voluntary actions rather than compulsion. However, Sweden does still have restrictions on social gatherings and sporting events, and Sweden does have one of the higher COVID death rates, more than 100 times higher per capita than New Zealand.

To those who say it is only old people who die, it is worth noting that there are now more than 7000 individually identified cases of health workers across the globe who have paid the extreme sacrifice. This is nothing like the seasonal flu. Britain alone has lost over 600 healthcare workers and the USA more than 1000. And all of this was despite lockdowns. If countries are forced to live with the virus then it is not going to be pretty.

I have a reasonable international network, including regular internet chats with my own university and high school cohorts from many years ago, who laid down their roots widely across the world.  They and other international folk that I have met on the journey of life keep telling tell me how lucky we are here in New Zealand. 

I sometimes wonder whether my international friends will still be saying the same thing in another six months. I think many of us Kiwis have had our confidence dented by the last six weeks. The evidential need is for amended policies that are proactive, not just reactive, and which reflect New Zealand’s unique situation.


*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. His articles are archived at http://keithwoodford.wordpress.com. You can contact him directly here.

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82 Comments

14
up

Good article KW, as always. Agree with the risk based quarantine approach but would add one more thing. Mandatory digitally enabled contact tracing via bluetooth or location data. Declare a State of Emergency and temporarily override Privacy Laws. The time has passed for voluntaryism.

Doubtful current quarantine operations stable enough to allow a transition to a sophisticated/ multi-stage quarantine operatines system.

Here is an example of in home tech, and description of remote stay monitoring happening in Singapore now:
https://youtu.be/644etzfS4Rk

And in the background is the SANZAAR position including that NSW contact tracing & testing is better than NZ & VIC - not relying on lockdowns as the first thing done.
https://youtu.be/3eUeDQY6FmY

Haha, thinking anything on youtube is credible is your first mistake.
Not sure what you mean by multistage QFs. As KW said - treat hi risk inbound as infectious and quarantine them. I'd do it for 21 days though not 14, and test at least every 4 days.

Hook - Do not write YouTube off completely., the content is not all rubbish, indeed this Chanel broadcasts via it's YouTube channel - You are therefore saying that this website is not credible! There are some amazing conversations to be heard via YouTube from very highly regarded and experienced individuals, you just have to search for the right content.

Totally agree. Privacy laws are important but not during this time. Google has all our data already. Current manual tracing system (by phone calls) is not efficient enough. NZ should use a health code system that many countries use.

A slippery slope. Once you open that door, it will never close again.

See how quickly everything tracking/tracing disappeared when we went back to level 1 initially, same would happen again. Short term pain long term gain.

You're confusing voluntary with mandatory.

Mandatory in NZ doesn't mean mandatory!

I don't have any data but I think most of our recent cases in isolation facilities (by which we mean hotels) have been imported from India.

Good to see the Oxford vaccine trials are trundling along. We'll probably see fully approved vaccines early next year. We just need a plan to roll it out (which, potentially, might take a few weeks) and then return to business as usual. Anyone booked their European holiday for 2021?

Re: Vaccines - most medical commentary is putting final approval at mid '21, production ramp up and delivery (especially to NZ) probably late '21 - early '22. It's gonna be a long, frustrating 18mnths.

Yes. A single plane from India had big numbers of the infected.
So we do need to be selective as to where people come from.
The virus in raging in many places, getting worse indeed, indicating we need to tighten the border more and be more particular, starting now and at least in mid next years.

It's going to take months and months and months to roll out a vaccine to all of NZ, not just a few weeks. And that's assuming it's just a single dose, a double dose vaccine will take even longer.

Hi Keith

infection rates rising rapidly, yes. But death rates are falling and not a fit with infections
Much younger profile for average infected person also.
So, we cannot assume that a new infection rate in NZ would mean lots of deaths

https://www.cebm.net/covid-19/declining-covid-19-case-fatality-rates-acr...

It is a natural development for any epidemic. Virus type killing people die with that person. Virus mutated to less severe symptoms is more likely to be spread as the infected people are with weak symptoms and sometimes unsymptomatic. I

This is true. It's possibly one of the eventual ways out of the pandemic, one of the answers to the question of how long we stay relatively closed off. A virus that has had the time to mutate to less harmful through populations overseas will have a less severe impact here when we reopen.

"So, we cannot assume that a new infection rate in NZ would mean lots of deaths" - It's not about the infection/DR mike, it's about overwhelming a struggling health system in NZ and then our DR might spiral upwards'
Whilst we cannot assume there would be high levels of mortality, we should also not assume that there won't be.

Mikekirk29,
Fair comment. But death rates increase rapidly once health care systems are overhwelmed. Cumulative case fatality rates are still running at around 3%. The most recent rates weekly rates are around 2% but deaths lag cases and hence CFR may rise again in coming weeks. Infection fatality rates are lower, but very hard to estimate. Total deaths will exceed one million within the next week. [Correction: I should have said two weeks.] Bloomfield suggests death rates are about ten times that of normal flu and I find that hard to argue against; not because it is Bloomfield but because that is what the evidence suggests..
KeithW

China's achievement on the containment of COVID19 is mainly due to its border control. Sure, there are elements which are hard for NZ to adopt due to political reasons (e.g. China has refused residency permit holders to enter the country, and made its citizen's homecoming quite tricky). Still, things like rigorous border testing regime and tough stand on quarantine breach are an excellent reference to NZ. As COVID torning India apart, a lot of Indians who are residents or citzens of NZ want to come back, and NZ needs to be ready for it.

China did not contain the virus.

On the 23rd of January the CCP quarantined and cut off Hubei province from the rest of China. However, they allowed flights out of Wuhan to the rest of the world.

I repeat China did not contain the virus.

Did you even read Keith's article before making your comment?

NZ Citizen,
The evdence is now clear that the disease was beyond China well before the 23 January. Those following the science knew well before that date that we were dealing with a highly infectious disease. Taiwan reacted quickly (before that date) but most countries were very poorly organised. I recall discussions I had with a friend on January 24 and my perspective right back then was that globally we were going to be in trouble because countries were not tracking and tracing their msost recent arrivals from China. Taiwan acted pro-actvely, China acted reactively but very strongly, and the rest of us dithered around.
I personally made a dffcult decision in February to continue with a planned trip to Canada which had no community transmission at that time. but even back then I mde a personal decision that I was going to self-isolate for two weeks on my return. This was three weeks before NZ made any such move. Here in NZ we were so lucky that we still had low community transmission when the Government finally moved 'hard and early'.
KeithW

meanwhile - back at the school of lies and misinformation -- a worker at MI tests positive but they are unable to confirm if its community or from someone in teh facility -- STRANGE - giiven that every day they announce a new case its linked ot the cluster -- but this one ..... wait for it .. we dont know -- of course they do - either it matches the current strain or it doesnt - a bit like lets blame a facility in Aussie that had never sent goods to the factory in NZ - same day we find out they moved 100+ people to christchurch in the middle of a MI stay -- with n swabs and no information to the Christchurch DHB --

There's a thing called tracing and sequencing - all take time
speaks to my assertion we need mandatory digital tracing rolled out... NOW

Don't you mean mandatory roll-out and compulsory wearing.
Unless it was compulsory it wouldn't work in South Auckland and or Mt Roskill

Pretty much. I'd initiate a mandatory, unblockable download of bluetooth "handshake" type tracing. Initially focused on smartphones. If I needed to I'd engage the GCSB to do it

Well since that's not actually technically possible, what is your backup plan?

Why is it not technically possible?

Not for MOH boffins maybe meant.

Will this mean the Govt will supply me a smartphone?

Telco's in NZ have no ability to do what you're suggesting without help from Google, Apple, and most likely also the cell phone manufacturers themselves.

Do you think those companies are going to co-operate? I don't, so it's not technically possible.

Maybe if they had made the contact tracing app easier more people would have taken it up? No sign up, just records a breadcrumb trail and periodically polls home for a list of dates & times to cross-check and sound the alarm for.

Also, would we benefit from the low cost / lower sensitivity self-test kits? Given how rapidly the viral load increases after infection it wouldn't be more than a day behind the lab test with the benefit that you could test far more often and far more widely.

Genome testing would be undertaken to see what strain of the virus the worker had, to help identify the source, with results due Monday, the spokesperson said.

Not sure why or how you expect the government to magically have genomic test results before the genomic sequencing has been completed.

The thing about NZs response is they notify us within 24 hours of each new case being confirmed, which often means for new cases that they don't have much detail about how the infection occurred.

That doesn't mean it's lies or misinformation, is just how these things work. The alternative would be to delay reporting cases until all information was known - that would actually be lies because there'd be cases they knew about that they weren't reporting.

Stuff Article. August 19th
https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/health/coronavirus/122487242/coronaviru...
"Samples for genome sequencing were put through a process in the lab that took about six hours before early results were available".
They know now for sure. They also know that if the health worker has a different strain than the Auckland cluster then they caught it from someone in Quarantine and they also know the persons in Jetpark who have that strain. Because they are 100% Genome Sequencing those cases now. Not the half-arsed effort prior to the latest outbreak.

Unrealistic to expect that there will not be transgressions regardless of rules and regulations that might be as draconian and tight as can ever be imagined. People make mistakes, that’s why we would have a road toll even if all and sundry obeyed the letter of the law rigidly. Personally I have my reservations about this government but overall consider they have handled this pandemic outbreak satisfactorily if priority is to be given to the protection of the people.

Fox, from a health perspective I totally agree. From an economic perspective - which also has health repercussions, the jury is still out. Unfortunately neither major party has any answer beyond spend, spend, and spend some more on short term relief measures. To their credit National came up with an infrastructure bank, which has merit, but the dearth of go forward midterm solutions is frankly unsettling. For the first time in my life I consider maybe selling up and moving to Iceland attractive. If this is the calibre of representatives in this country - we're f@$ked.

that the other way to vote.
With your feet
You get 3 votes.

There's a vast difference between reality and how elites represent reality.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cQdnaGMXkWQ

Thats right Fox.
Come a long way from...

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says it's "not realistic to assume" COVID-19 will never reach New Zealand, and the current travel restrictions can't go on forever.

.... Ardern said the New Zealand health system is "ready" for COVID-19, including 9 million P2 masks, able to stop the virus from entering via the mouth.

"But of course because of good planning, we will and should be able to stop that ongoing human-to-human transmission and be able to contain [it]. That's what we have to be prepared for, and we are."

https://www.newshub.co.nz/home/new-zealand/2020/02/coronavirus-very-high...

Perhaps they were ready, but probably not, given NZ was rated about 39th in the world as far as pandemic preparedness. As things have evolved the element that has come to concern me most is the obvious breakdown in our elected representatives control of the public service. We have had the MOH not following government directives and even not doing what they have said they are doing. Unfortunately this bureaucratic culture riddles both national and local government. A public service that is opinionated, unaccountable and self serving is a threat to both democracy and society. And the performance of the MOH ( hells bells the military had to intercede) with CV19, over the last 6 months plus the woeful events that have been unfolding at the Canterbury DHB, are due testament to exactly the prospect of such misfortune.

Given US was rated #1, those ratings clearly made huge assumptions and didn't focus on what is important - government actually having a plan and the public following it.

please remember in January/February the posts here showing the NZ plan.
Plan for influenza.
Nothing to do with SARs type.
Fortunately aged care locked down & then told MOH, at same time MOH were saying the Hereford conference suffers were at first, nothing to see.

Furthermore for the past 3 years all government planning has been to the topic of climate change (the wrong crisis!)

The planning the PM referred to in February as being done then & NZ being ready for covid19, on evidence seems insubstantial.
Refer the Bridge committee submissions.

If there were a plan, how do the crippling actions by ministry against the CDHB feature.
Wrecking the South Islands largest health operation does not make sense - in time of pandemic.

10
up

The fear around COVID19 is kind of a collective insanity in New Zealand. This guy gets it though...

Some points for consideration.
1. The death rates in Sweden, New York, London etc are flat at close to zero despite increasing case numbers!
2. The vast majority of cases don't have any symptoms. It's nothing to be afraid of.
3. NZ is going down a dark path. High profile epidemiologists like this one from Oxford University say as much. We should be opening up the economy, normalising international travel and doing it NOW while the summer window of opportunity is approaching.

References or links to support those claims??

click on the little blue things Grandpa :) HTML links

[ Don't do that, even if you are frustrated. Ed. ]

It's there, just hard to see since blue and black look similar.

Ah, youtube - that well known fount of truth and scientific accuracy!

Not on the dear leaders verified info list I'm assuming. Better tell teachers, as they use YouTube extensively to teach our kids.

Better than Facebook.
People put any old on facebook

"Over the past week the country carried out more than 120,000 tests, of which only 1.3 per cent identified the disease. At the height of the pandemic the proportion was 19 per cent.

Johan Carlson, an epidemiologist and director of the public health agency, said that Swedes seemed to be benefiting from widespread immunity because of the decision not to order the population to stay at home during the first wave."
https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/were-vindicated-say-swedes-after-coro...

"The survival rate is above 99 per cent. People aged under 60 are far more likely to die in a road accident, but we don't ban them driving cars.
...The World Health Organisation now says that serological surveys show the infection fatality ratio has kept falling, so far to between 0.5 and 1 per cent, substantially below the 2-3 per cent originally feared.
... It is more like the Asian flu of 1957 and Hong Kong flu of 1968, which were bad, but did not shut down the entire world."
https://www.afr.com/policy/health-and-education/new-virus-facts-ignored-...

We didn't have the mechanisms to shut down the world back then. This whole situation demonstrates that now we have the tools they will be used. People talking about letting privacy slide are bonkers, and luddites of history.

Thanks

ECHO echo ECHO echo

The other 'market' we might want to think about opening our borders to is wealthy travelers with time to spare. NZ has never been more enjoyable than now to tour around given it's like a time past when mass tourism hadn't hit yet.

Tourism NZ should work with government and industry to set up packages minimum 2 month travelers which includes incoming isolation/quarantine at a select number of flash hotels. Once they finish quarantine, and provided we're back at Level 1 - they will relish the freedom to move around and the relative peace and quiet of the countryside at the moment.

Good idea Kate but the 2 weeks coming in and the 2 weeks on return to their home countries might be a bit of a disincentive

Two weeks staying on a luxury yacht?

Should design a 6 months Tour Aotearoa visa, tied with local hotels, adventure tourism operators etc, with all costs paid in advance by the traveller. Give them a grand experience of Paradise.

Good luck with that Kate - we can't even organise a rugby game.

PM Jacinda Arden just wants election to pass and all decession are political decession than health.

They may deny it but is a fact.

Time to ban incoming from India, Brazil, USA, Spain ... - top 10 infected countries?
Why are there still ‘residents’ still ‘returning’ to NZ in such numbers? Haven’t they had enough time since April by now?

ahem .. they are not "residents" but residents - without your quotes. They have legal rights - how would you like yours being taken away arbitrarily ?

BTW - in case you have not noticed - flights have been pretty hard to find since pandemic started - and NZ Govt had the airline bookings managed down to ensure sufficient space in MIQ ( sadly necessary ) . So enough with that xenophobic nonsense already.

"They have legal rights - how would you like yours being taken away arbitrarily ? "

They were, along with the rest of the country for all of lockdown. I survived, so will they.

Last I checked Citizen > Resident.

So completely fine when their rights have an adverse effect everyone else in the country but not the other way arround?

Yes but should they "be " residents. I lived in Thailand for over 20 years, speak the lingo, have tons of money and good connections but without a massive bribe I would never be granted citizenship of Thailand and IMO, rightly so. As far as I know same goes for China, India, Vietnam etc etc. Of course we should welcome tourists and a few short term workers to NZ but residency should be strictly limited to partners of NZ born citizens and the odd extremely skilled worker in a very very small number of specialist vocations. More foreign born "residents" = more traffic , more pollution, less jobs and less affordable housing for NZ born residents. Unless you own property or want cheap labor is there any upside whatsoever?

I disagree - but more importantly it is not the same debate.

The people in question have already been granted residency - rightly or wrongly ; this bestows legal rights ; a country ruled by laws respects that .

I've heard there are something like a million NZ'rs overseas so at 14000 amonth that might take awhile.

These categories are permitted into NZ currently under COVID border lockdown:
“New Zealand citizens, permanent residents and residents with valid travel conditions returning to New Zealand do not need approval from Immigration New Zealand before travelling.”
‘Residents with valid travel condition’ are a separate category from ‘permanent residents’ and may include shorter term visa-holders who are on a ‘pathway’ to permanent residency. So many ‘returners’ may have had only a limited time living in NZ previously.
See https://www.immigration.govt.nz/about-us/covid-19/coronavirus-update-inz...

Yes we need a rethink BUT Labour dosent do proactive. We will have to wait till it falls apart till they do something about it.

Hi Keith, I work in a small rural hospital. I asked the staff if they would have a COVID vaccine and less than 50% indicated that they would. They also have a low uptake of flu vaccine.... Many do not trust the process.

1956 Steve,
This is troubling. Personally I do have faith in the vaccine processes and I will be lining up as soon as it is available. I see it as both a personal and social responsibility
KeithW

I noticed this resurgence from a cursory check of the John Hopkins data and commented on it on 10 September.
a quick check showed NZ closed borders with China on 2 Feb 20 about half way through their outbreak. At that time China had about 40k cases. India has 4 million cases but we have no travel ban and Indias cases do not show any evidence of peaking. Despite the precautions India claims to make on travellers infected people arrive in NZ. I have rechecked the Spain and France data and the high levels of infection in the second wave do not appear to be causing as many deaths.'UK and USA still have both many cases and deaths. NZ may find itself as an isolated island of uninfected people with no path to re integration into the international community.

India has 4 million cases but we have no travel ban

Um, yes we do. Currently no non-resident from any country are allowed entry into NZ. That includes China and India.

The ban on travel from China applied to foreigners, and it was any foreigners who had been in China within the last 14 days. NZ residents were still allowed to travel from China, but had to self isolate at home for 14 days after returning.

A Chinese guy in my team at work returned from China around about the 15th of Feb. He wasn't sure he was going to make it back due to lots of flights being cancelled, but had no problem with getting in to NZ.

a ban is a ban. a ban with exceptions is a sieve.

The best course of action is to stamp it out and keep it out. But it can't be the mickey mouse half-arsed politically influenced rolling clusterfail of the last 7 months. Experts need to decide what the MIQ procedures need to be to guarantee the virus does not escape to the community. Then work out how many arrivals we can accommodate when following those procedures. Then that is it. Not sure the majority can tolerate any more deaths. No matter how old or infirm those victims will be.

Here, here.

Another 3 cases today, all imported
Doesn't say if they were citizens, or residents, or permanent residents or part processed migrants or guest workers
Too many exemptions and too many exceptions
Like to know how much $3,300 isolation fees have been paid or levied
Or is that too big an ask

I wonder how many positive cases turning up at the border over the last couple of months are NZ born citizens? Not many I bet. Just another problem caused by our crazy immigration policies. Try hopping over to Beijing, Bangkok, Apia or Mumbai and trying to buy property and gain residency. And please, nobody try the old race card chestnut. I don't want mass immigration of white South Africans or Brits either. Simply want NZ to be the best possible place for my kids. Less traffic and pollution, more jobs and more affordable housing.

> ,, Try hopping over to Beijing, Bangkok, Apia or Mumbai ..
are those the places we should be copying to make/keep NZ a better place ? One can go to Europe or the USA and gain residency there in many cases .. are those not better models to follow ?

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