WILL WE MOVE OR WILL WE NOT – John Grant looks at the likelihood of the status quo for the next few days.
Written by John Grant on August 27, 2021
The die is cast, and the changes are locked and loaded.
What the outcome will be is anybody’s guess and most people seem to have a view. If current Coromandel opinion was to drive the change then most probably we would see a move to Alert Level 3 – more commonly known as ‘Level 4 with takeaways’. A week ago, it looked very likely we would be in for a longer lockdown but with no cases of Covid-19 so far recorded on the Coromandel and, this is important, no trace of Covid-19 in the wastewater, the move away from level 4 is much more likely.
The arguments for a change are strong. No cases and no traces of Covid-19. So, if we are to change then the question is it to be level 3 or to level 2.
Level 4 is known as “Lockdown” and level 3 is “Restrict”. The Risk Assessment for Level 3 refers to there being multiple cases of community transmission and multiple clusters in multiple regions. Both are correct. It also states at Level 3 that there is “High risk the disease is not contained”.
Level 2 on the other hand is known as “Reduce” with a Risk Assessment of there being limited community transmission and that there are active clusters in more than 1 region. It would be hard to say that community transmission is limited with still climbing numbers and new locations of interest being found.
Yesterday a key piece of information was traces of Covid-19 found in the wastewater in Christchurch. There will be a lot of work taking place to establish if the source can be confirmed as those positive cases in MIQ. Until that happens it is unlikely the South Island will be shifted from Level 4.
A further consideration is the regional borders. These take time to be set in place. This could have already been planned but last time Auckland was different to other regions these was a period of time for this to be put in place. Regular essential workers who travel across borders will need time to apply for the permits to do so.
Therefore, there is probably a strong case for Coromandel, and the entire country to stay on Level 4 for a short period of time. Probably this will be till next Tuesday when Auckland will most likely continue at level 4 with or without Wellington and then the rest of the country will move to Level 3.
The only other consideration is the political/economic impact of change. To stop people working and to stop people travelling or going out in their boats is unpopular and will have a corresponding dent in the Governments popularity. We have already seen Labour popularity sliding in the polls. A sustained period of Lockdown for the country, be it Level 4 or Level 3 will probably come with poll implications.
It will also raise an old chestnut of people travelling to holiday destinations and batches and holiday homes. Here on the Coromandel, we’ve seen locals at Manaia running roadblocks and Police are a lot more active in this current lockdown with road blocks in Whangamata and Kopu.
All will be revealed at 3pm today. In the meantime we’ve created a chart providing a comparison of changes to Alert Levels and what it means for what is permitted. We will update this afternoon as soon as we hear.