Interest rises in timeline for moving to alert level 1

With only two new cases of Covid-19 over the past seven days is it time to lighten alert level 2 restrictions?

No caption

Leo Whiting says he and the rest of the staff at the restaurant Kiss Kiss are keen to move to level 1. Photo: RNZ / Matthew Theunissen

Today Cabinet is expected to consider increasing the size of gatherings from the current limit of 10.

The first thing some people did when the lockdown at level 3 ended was to get a tattoo as a permanent reminder of the day they emerged from their bubble.

Now at level 2 – other than having to wear a face mask, Bryan Sikkema from Ōtautahi Tattoo on Auckland’s Karangahape Rd said it’s now pretty much business as usual.

“Surprisingly [we’ve had] a lot of business, it’s pretty good. I think a lot of people were post-lockdown ready to get out and live their lives, spend a bit of money and get back to normalcy and so, tattoos, it’s just one of those ways of getting back into it,” he said.

“As far as alert levels go now, I’d be more anxious to go back up to level 3 than anything. Level 2’s not too big of a deal, in fact, we’re finding it keeps the studio a little bit spaced out and it’s not too stressful or anything.”

In nearby St Kevin’s Arcade, RNZ bumped into Molly O’Shea, a dual British-New Zealand national who decided to make the trip down under on 21 March to escape.

She’s diabetic and the way the British government was handling the pandemic didn’t fill her with confidence.

“I fled because of Boris’s response and because Jacinda is great.”

She said she’s not worried about moving down the alert levels as soon as possible.

“No, I mean, I just really trust this government, I trust Jacinda. I just trust her. I feel like the comparison is so stark for me in the fact that … my feeling is that the New Zealand government chose people’s lives over the economy, which is the opposite to what Britain did.”

Hospitality has been one of the sectors hardest hit by the pandemic, and Leo Whiting from the restaurant Kiss Kiss on Dominion Rd is keen to get down to level 1, but only if it’s safe.

“When we moved to level 2 the first night was pretty quiet, I think people were kind of like sounding out the restrictions. But ever since then, especially on the weekends, we’ve actually been nearly at the capacity we usually would be,” he said.

“From what I gather, most of the staff here – me included – we’re just keen to get back to level 1 just to kind of get on with it. Obviously if there were still active cases each day it’d be a different story.”

Professor Michael Baker, a public health medicine specialist at the University of Otago

Michael Baker. Photo: University of Otago

University of Otago public health physician Professor Michael Baker wants to remind people about Covid-19’s long incubation period, which despite the low cases means New Zealand is not out of the woods yet.

“You need a prolonged period to ensure that you do not have a circulating virus in New Zealand. And the problems of complacency I think are huge and if we look at the experience overseas in countries like South Korea, Hong Kong – even Australia – they’ve had outbreaks, even after several days of no cases.”

Professor Baker said a move to level 1 would be a strong signal that New Zealand has eliminated Covid-19

He said evidence indicates that if there are no new cases for 28 days – twice Covid-19’s incubation period – there’s a 95 percent chance that the virus has indeed been eliminated in this country.

Join Geezgo for free. Use Geezgo\’s end-to-end encrypted Chat with your Closenets (friends, relatives, colleague etc) in personalized ways.>>

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *