ZB

John MacDonald: It's time for Covid isolation rules to go

Author
John MacDonald,
Publish Date
Thu, 16 Jun 2022, 12:38pm
Photo / Getty Images
Photo / Getty Images

John MacDonald: It's time for Covid isolation rules to go

Author
John MacDonald,
Publish Date
Thu, 16 Jun 2022, 12:38pm

When I got up this morning, I thought for a second that the old throat was feeling a bit scratchy. Nothing major, just that little feeling that makes you think there might be something brewing.

So I popped a couple of Vitamin Cs, it’s disappeared and I am good as gold.

I don’t know how many people I’ve spoken to recently who’ve said they’ve had the same thing happen to them. And, generally, we’ve all agreed that it’s probably because we’re on the lookout more because of the pandemic and, half the time, we’re probably imagining the aches and pains anyway.

But sometimes we do a rapid antigen test, just to be sure. The thing with the rapid testing, though - as many of us have found out - is that you can get a negative result, even if you’re positive. And even if you’re feeling as lousy as anything.

This is why people coming here from overseas have been forced to do the full PCR test before they jump on a plane. But, as we’re hearing today, that requirement is set to be scrapped from as early as next week.

So pretty soon, anyone coming here will be able to do so without paying for and tracking down a PCR test before they travel to New Zealand from another country.

Justin Watson from Christchurch International Airport was saying on Newstalk ZB this morning that, just by doing away with the pre-departure testing requirement, we are likely to see more people choosing to come to New Zealand.

He says that’s been the experience in other countries around the world - so there’s no reason to expect anything different here in New Zealand.

But when all these people get here, they are going to discover that while we’ve caught up with the rest of the world in terms of ditching the pre-departure testing, there’s still a way to go with the approach we take within New Zealand.

I’m not talking about the testing regime. I’m talking about the isolation rules that, I think, have reached the point where they are completely redundant.

Completely redundant because, now, we‘re not just dealing with Covid, we’re also dealing with seasonal influenza.

And what I’m seeing, is that the flu that’s doing the rounds at the moment is, generally, much worse than Omicron itself. Much, much worse. This is what people who have got it are telling me.

I know people who had Covid recently and who now have the flu, and they’re saying that Covid was a walk in the park compared to what they’re dealing with now.
One of them was able to get up and shower and pot around and do stuff with Covid. A completely different story with the flu.

And, by the way, this is not me diminishing Covid and pulling out the old “it’s not much worse than the common cold” cliché. It’s me telling you what people are telling me about their experience with

Omicron versus their experience with the flu. They’re being bowled over by the flu, while Covid was nowhere near as bad.

And this is why I think we have reached the point here in New Zealand that the Covid isolation rules that are still in place here have become completely redundant, because they are a huge contradiction.

If you have Covid - even Covid with very mild symptoms - you still have to lock yourself away at home. But if you have this awful flu that so many people have at the moment, you may not feel capable of getting out of bed let alone doing anything else. But, if you want to, you can go wherever you want and do whatever you want.

And if you live with someone with the flu, it’s full steam ahead, no isolation required. But, again, a completely different story if you live with someone with Covid.

A huge contradiction.

Which becomes even more of a contradiction when you think that the Government’s priority throughout this whole pandemic experience has been trying to prevent hospitals getting over-run with sick people.

And here we are forcing people with a mild dose of Covid to stay home but allowing people with the flu to decide for themselves when they can venture back out into the big wide world.

It makes no sense at all, as far as I’m concerned.