Monday, 15 February 2021

Govt must learn from latest outbreak

“We must hope that the Government’s testing and tracing can isolate this outbreak before a damaging extended lockdown harms livelihoods,” says ACT Leader David Seymour.

“ACT’s primary concern is for all those businesses, workers and households who now face the uncertainty of a further lockdown, and the border workers who have operated under extreme pressure, unvaccinated while over a hundred million people were vaccinated in 77 other countries.

“It was only a matter of time before an outbreak forced another lockdown. New Zealand was a sitting duck, saved by luck, citizen cooperation and geographic isolation. The Government did not take the opportunity to strengthen our defences with better testing and contact tracing, as the Prime Minister claimed. Instead it pinned its hopes on a vaccine while inviting the Wiggles through MIQ.

“It’s difficult to believe that the Government learned from damning reports on MIQ. The person in question appears to have gone two weeks without being tested as an MIQ worker, long enough to have an asymptomatic case of the virus and recover, with nobody being any the wiser. In the event, she was not tested until she took it upon herself to do so.

“What is clear is that the Government must finally take this event as the wakeup call ACT has been urging. Last month the Government tried to say New Zealand’s position was so good we could afford to wait for a vaccine. ACT said at the time that we are only an outbreak away from wishing we had one.

“We must now hope that the testing and contact tracing capabilities the Government does have are sufficient to isolate the virus before New Zealand faces a full sale lockdown devastating for many sectors of the economy.”