Roger Childs says there are advantages in living in a remote part of the planet, surrounded by water and without land borders.
It’s a long way for invaders and boat people to come, and we are less susceptible to the movement of bugs.
Flying to Vancouver, San Francisco and Los Angeles takes 12 -13 hours, however the time on the planes is worth it.
But planes and ships coming here can bring pathogens like Covid 19 to our shores.
The Spanish flu disaster
Back in 1918 -19 the Spanish flu killed 9000 New Zealanders and probably arrived with people coming off ships.
In the current Coronavirus outbreak world-wide there is no accounting for idiots. Readers will no doubt approve of the naming and shaming of Australian Andre Reynaud, who was tested in Queensland but didn’t wait for the results before flying to Wellington.
New Zealand’s response to Coronavirus
As you know, people arriving in New Zealand by plane now have to self isolate for 14 days. This is regardless of whether they are Kiwi returning or tourists.
Major sports competitions affecting rugby, netball, rugby league and football are now suspended. This is happening overseas too.
Has anyone actually caught Covid 19 from being in the crowd watching a sports fixture?
Some overseas countries have banned gatherings of more than 500 and, in the case of Israel, more than 10. This begs the question is a group meeting in Tel Aviv of 12 dangerous, but nine people gathering in a café OK?
In New Zealand there may be more restrictions to come, however it is interesting that 51,000 attended WOMAD concerts and functions in New Plymouth last the weekend, and so far no one has reported being sick with the virus.
Meanwhile the anniversary of the mosques massacres was not commemorated in Christchurch, the Pasifica Festival in Auckland was cancelled and the plug’s been pulled on Warbirds over Wanaka.
Meanwhile Festival of the Arts performances in Auckland are continuing.
So there is plenty of inconsistency on what is happening. Obviously to catch Coronavirus you need a carrier to pass it on. We only have 8 confirmed cases currently and no doubt hundreds of people around the country with influenza.
What’s happening overseas?
Restaurants across the country (China) are beginning to serve customers again with enthusiastic clientele queuing for tables. Migrant labourers at factories and construction sites are starting to return to work…
Offices are also asking workers to come back after weeks of remote working. ( ( Telegraph Group, Sunday March 15 )
Traffic is flowing again in Chinese cities and people are venturing out into the streets and public parks.
For New Zealand the resumption of the timber and dairy trade may not be far away.
The Chinese Govt’s expectations
However the Chinese government will be expecting the ban on travel to be lifted. Question: have any of our 8 cases resulted from people flying in from China?
Italy is the bad news
China is the good news; Italy is the bad news. They have had 17,000 cases and over 1200 deaths with medical facilities stretched to the limits.
In the United States, the federal government was slow off the mark and has scrambled to bring their testing facilities up to the standards of Asia and Europe
Schools are closing in New York and there is a recommendation for gatherings not to exceed 50. (49 OK?) Our son in California remarked yesterday it is nowhere as bad as the regular flu.
What to make of it all
It can be argued that by taking stringent precautions we may largely keep Coronavirus out. (It is interesting that Australia has followed our lead.)
However, you have to wonder about banning spectator events and the inconsistency on what is happening around the nation.
If we avoid a major outbreak and the sort of problems Italy is facing, we will be grateful for the government’s actions.
And if China and South Korea are anything to go by, the “crisis” will run its course in 6-8 weeks.