Saturday, 22 August 2020

WHO Director-General: Lockdowns unsustainable

“A consensus is growing for a Wellbeing Approach to tackling COVID-19 with the Director-General of the World Health Organisation calling lockdowns unsustainable,” says ACT Leader David Seymour.

Yesterday, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said: ‘We must all learn to control and manage this virus using the tools we have now…lockdowns are not a long-term solution for any country.’

“We’ve lost sight of the costs and uncertainty created by lockdowns and we need to ask how elimination can be made affordable.

“A Wellbeing Approach to Covid-19 considers all of the costs of fighting Covid-19 in a world where we can’t guarantee against an outbreak.

“It’s not affordable or sustainable to continue with rolling lockdowns.

“Being free of Covid-19 is just one dimension of wellbeing. We also have to think about a generation of students’ one shot at life-defining exams, the mental health of small business owners run ragged, non-Covid healthcare such as missed elective surgeries, and families who can’t travel to Auckland for funerals.

“Then there are financial costs. If we take one estimate from a major bank, a Level 3 lockdown in Auckland costs $440 million a week. 16 days is $1 billion. That is Pharmac’s entire budget for all taxpayer-funded medicine for a year.

“The goal of ACT’s Wellbeing Approach is to reduce costs and uncertainty and make the elimination strategy affordable.

ACT’s policy is:

• New Zealand Epidemic Response Unit: Based on Taiwan’s Central Epidemic Command Centre
• Government as referee, not player: Allow alternative facilities for safe, electronically-monitored isolation, with strict punishment for rule-breakers
• Risk-weighted: Treat different countries and travellers with different levels of caution
• Technology-driven: Such as COVID card, ëlarm, rapid tests, temperature checks and thermal cameras
• Continuous improvement: Constantly compare ourselves with the best and seek to strengthen our resistance.

“If we want to enhance New Zealanders’ overall wellbeing, we must get a lot smarter. If we take a broad-based approach, and remain aware of all aspects of wellbeing, then we will be truly better off in every sense. A Party Vote for ACT is a vote to tackle Covid-19 intelligently.”