Down to Level 2: 2021 Edition (+ Rant about Australian Plague)
New Zealand’s struggle against Delta has been going pretty well. We’re not out of the woods yet, but we’ve only had one death so far, and Lockdown is getting eased. In fact, the country outside Auckland is moving out of Level 3 Lockdown, and into Level 2 (“heightened awareness but not Lockdown”), as of 11:59 p.m. tomorrow night. Auckland is still stuck in Level 4, but the outbreak is clearly under control, what with daily case numbers down to 20. Yay.
New Zealand’s experience these past three weeks is a pretty pertinent lesson: Coronavirus lockdowns work when they’re done competently, even against Delta. It also destroys the argument coming out of Canberra, about Delta being some sort of invincible opponent… and really just shows that (Australian PM) Scott Morrison and (NSW Premier) Gladys are both callous and incompetent. Hell, calling Gladys a serial killer is an insult to serial killers at this point… the notion of opening up New South Wales to plague pits like the US and UK by Christmas is madness.
(Yes, we do see the US and UK as plague pits. And more locally, if New Zealand’s example strengthens the hands of the Western Australian, South Australian, Queensland, and Tasmanian state governments against the Federals, so much the better. There is very little affection for Scott Morrison in this part of the world).
So why has lockdown worked for New Zealand and not Victoria? Well, part of that is the luck of geography. Victoria has border-towns with New South Wales, which means the virus can leak across the border, whereas New Zealand has a 2000km moat against Gladys and her muppets. However, I’d suggest that there’s good management too: if you’re diagnosed with Coronavirus in New Zealand, you’re moved to a special isolation facility. In Australia, you’re allowed to stay at home. Which is just asking for trouble. New Zealand lockdowns are also unquestionably more strict (and are actually complied with, since amongst other things, we don’t have Murdoch media).
Honestly, when Australians are being subjected to ads like this one – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4o9_AK1Kcyo – you really have to wonder what Qantas executives are smoking. Vaccination is a good thing, yes, but it’s not going to allow you mask-free aeroplane travel to disease-ridden hell holes. Meanwhile, New Zealand has zero public appetite for a Great Re-opening. Scott Morrison and his ilk can bash us as much as he likes, but we really don’t care.
Bring it on, Gladys.