Wānaka Sun       

Life is back to normal- well done us

Posted at 6:00am Thursday 11 Jun, 2020 | By Pat Deavoll editor@thewanakasun.co.nz

So, we have done it.

After weeks of catapulting up the Alert Levels, and then back slithering down, we are at Alert Level 1. Hooray!

Finally, we are rewarded with the ability to come together in significant mobs for community sport, concerts, bars and nightclubs, A&P shows, and public performances, and to welcome the elderly back into the communal mix.

Alert Level 1 also shuts up the nagging refrain the government has had to put up with from its coalition partner, the opposition, the business community and an increasingly fractious public.

Director-General of Health Ashley Bloomfield, usually so measured and composed, was positively euphoric: “We have come down faster and sooner and in a stronger position than any other country,” he says.

Jacinda says she did a little dance around the living room.

So, we have left the rest of the world in our wake. Our situation has gained reactions from admiration to pure envy from countries such as the United States, Russia,  the United Kingdom and Brazil. They still grapple with coronavirus with little respite in sight.

As of Tuesday, there were 7,167,950 cases of coronavirus throughout the world and 407,424 deaths.

On this day, the US recorded 2,024,825 cases, 113,042 deaths, 573 on Tuesday alone. Brazil had 694,116 cases and 36,602 deaths, third only to the US and the United Kingdom. The UK had 287,399 cases and 40,597 deaths.

These statistics are staggering, but none more so than those of the US. How the world's leading economy could allow it to get so bad beggars belief and smacks of appalling leadership and an ineffective government.

For the meantime, we must give the rest of the world the cold shoulder, although we are hopeful of including Australia, and then the Pacific Islands in a “travel bubble” shortly. For the rest of the world, it's severe and long-lasting border protection measures.

But not everyone is as euphoric as Ashley Bloomfield and Jacinda. There are real anxieties around the prospect of business failures and rising levels of unemployment, especially once the wage subsidy ends. There is a steep uphill climb for New Zealand and the countries on which it relies for trade.

To revitalise the tourism economy, which has suffered like no other, the government is encouraging us to get out there and explore the country; you might as well because you aren't going anywhere else. You may have been to Dubai, but have you ever been to Te Anau? You might know New Delhi like the back of your hand, but how about the Coromandel?

But we can pat ourselves on the back. As Jacinda said [on Monday], it is now 40 days since the last recorded case of community transmission, 26 days after entering Alert Level 2, 17 days since a new case, and less than 24 hours since having zero active cases recorded.

“New Zealanders did something ‘remarkable' by uniting in the fight against coronavirus, and has achieved one of the lowest rates per capita in the world,” she said.

Well done us, I say.

Read edition 978 of the Wānaka Sun here.

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