Sunday, October 24

Auckland lockdown threatens to split ‘five million team’ | New Zealand

TThe cry of ‘be nice’, which Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has impressed in New Zealand since her first lockdown a year ago, is in danger of being replaced by a less positive mantra as Aucklandites battle for their second Covid lockdown. 19 in fifteen days. .

The nation’s largest city has been in a level three lockdown since Sunday morning as a result of two cases of community transmission, which were found to have occurred while a previous period of level three restrictions was in place, threatening to fracture the “Five Million Team” unit.

On Monday, Ardern expressed frustration and urged people to hold each other accountable. No one she had spoken to thought it was tolerable, she said, adding that the most recent cases “face the full judgment of the entire nation.”

Many members of the public have voiced their pent-up frustrations on social media targeting Covid-19 rule breakers, Auckland residents who took the opportunity to leave the city in the hours before the 6 a.m. lockdown began. Sunday, and the government.

Motorists returning to Auckland on Sunday were furious at the waits of up to seven hours to pass through checkpoints. “I can understand that they control the people leaving Auckland, but it is ridiculous to control those that come in,” one reader tells the New Zealand Herald.

“Our two-hour drive home took nine hours. It was 26 degrees and there were a lot of families with young children … I wonder if Jacinda thinks it’s okay to be in a car for so long with young children and little food or fluids. “

While waiting time at the Auckland road borders was reduced to less than 30 minutes on Monday evening, there were many signs on Wednesday that Auckland residents were losing patience.

“Well I’m in a bad mood too,” says Tina Woodfield, at the Covid-19 testing station in the center of Otara city in South Auckland. She had just had her third voluntary nasal swab in a year.

“We have all been advised what to do. [If you have symptoms] Get tested and stay home. There are no excuses. We shouldn’t have to go through this, ”says Woodfield, a hotel receptionist who got tested because she had flu symptoms.

“It is frustrating because it is affecting lives and companies.” You haven’t seen your partner since he took a job as a special education worker in Australia a year ago, just before Covid-19 first appeared in New Zealand. “We want to take him home, but everything is delayed.”

In the nearby village of Otara Kai, Swanie Nelson says the mood is different this time. People were fine during the three-day shutdown last month, he said. “Actually, we were just talking about a family. This time there are several families and many more places of interest and we are at the epicenter of those places. “

Swanie Nelson, manager of Otara Kai Village, Auckland.
Swanie Nelson, manager of the village of Otara Kai, Auckland. Photography: Phil Taylor

“People think ‘what the hell am I going to do if the cases increase.’ They are not optimistic at the moment. “

To date, there have been 15 confirmed cases of Covid-19 linked to the Auckland February cluster, in four families from South Auckland.

Kai It is the Maori word for food and the village of Otara Kai is part of a community initiative started during the first closure. On Wednesday they handed out 400 hot meals – “chow mein and buttered French bread sticks” – but Nelson says they don’t call it a food bank because of the stigma.

Moinul Khan of Supervalue Supermarket Otara, Auckland.
Moinul Khan of Supervalue Supermarket Otara, Auckland. Photography: Phil Taylor

“We rescued and redistributed kai for everyone. It is more dignified. We call it mana enhancement. “

Around the corner at the family-owned Supervalue Supermarket, Moinul Khan says it’s pretty much business as usual. “More people wear masks, but the number of people who come to the store is normal.”

That, he suggests, reflects blocking fatigue as Auckland faces its fourth block at level three or higher.

Papatoetoe Secondary School, which is located in a neighboring southern Auckland suburb, has been open for just a day and a half since mid-February, when a student tested positive. Since then, two more students have tested positive, prompting all of his staff and students to take the test and have returned negative results.

The school’s principal, Vaughan Couillault, points out that the violators of the Covid rules are not students but relatives. “Everybody gets frustrated when people don’t follow the rules. But for every negative message I probably get 50 positives. “

No new community cases were announced on Wednesday, while some test results are yet to come in the Auckland outbreak. There are two new border-related cases in managed isolation facilities. The government will reconsider alert levels on Friday.

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