It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning ...as some old English crumbly put it.
It’s now been over 2 weeks since the last new Covid-19 case in NZ, over a month since the last community transmission, and our last active case was declared recovered yesterday. So we are officially Covid free. As a result, as of midnight tonight all social restrictions are being lifted. Gigs, clubs, sporting events, sex with total strangers: it’s all on.
Now that’s all shiny and chrome, you may say. And many of us would agree with you - there will certainly be a bottle of something expensive cracked in the Distraxi household tonight.
However now we start to pay the price - even over and above the massive hit the economy’s already taken due to a couple of months of various degrees of lockdown. We have closed borders, and if we’re going to have any chance of keeping the virus out they’re going to stay closed till we not only have a vaccine but it’s widely available, otherwise the whole exercise will have been a waste. You and your lovely tourist dollars are welcome to visit, but only if you stay in a hotel room for 2 weeks after arrival: good luck with that.
We’re also going to need to keep testing like a motherfucker and have a big fat expensive contact tracing apparatus sitting around waiting to go, just in case it slips back in with an aircrew or some sort of quarantine screwup (not that that could happen).
So the next year or two in New Zealand is going to be a mammoth exercise in “how tightly can you seal a border” and “how fucked is an economy which relies on trade and tourism going to get when not only are all our trade partners having their own issues, but nobody can even come or go?”
Fun times indeed. Its great to live in a tiny island nation in the middle of nowhere when things turn to shit. But it sucks to live in a tiny island nation in the middle of nowhere when things turn to shit.
Humber Limousine with custom oversized ashtray for your time.
And as an aside, our PM apparently “danced a little jig around her lounge” when she heard the last case was recovered. While the idea of Ardern and her toddler boogying down to the good news is somewhat less revolting an image than some other world leaders i could name (or even some of our own in the past), I’m not sure if I approve of this trend for political leaders to be human beings. We hired you to be an archetype, dammit!