I was incredulous at the news we’d had a breach in protocols during the transfer of the Covid patient from Fiji.
I shouldn’t have been, it was always a possibility, and perhaps one of the reasons the medics were so against the transfer in the first place. But to hear that a “PPE protocol incident” had occurred and ended up lumping a health worker into Jet Park for two weeks in MIQ, left me aghast.
Imagine being that health worker – already stretched with RSV raging through the hospitals, your colleagues have all said no thanks to this patient coming, you’ve been over ruled by politicians, and then – beyond your control, the patient gets flown here, and wham, you’re into MIQ for two weeks.
Away from your family, out at the Jet Park, isolating.
How completely unnecessary.
Medical experts have been leaping up and down about this since before we even took the patient, but over the weekend Professor of Medicine Des Gorman leapt up and down too.
He criticised the decision saying "it's a pity" health workers here have been put at risk. It is indeed a pity.
The Ministry’s reported as saying "any risks from this incident are low," but why are we taking any risks at all?
What happened to abundance of caution?
What happened to zero risk?
We only need to look to our friends across the Tasman to know how virulent this Delta variant is.
We only need to look at the turtle pace of our vaccine rollout here to know how ill prepared we are.
We don’t contact trace enough anymore, we don’t wear the mandatory masks we’re supposed to on public transport, we are not remotely ready to handle an outbreak here, so why take any risks at all?
Of course as I said last week, this was never a medical decision and you can’t blame the UN worker at the centre of it, it’s not her fault, and we hope she recovers well.
But for the government to ignore the medics, who they’ve followed so religiously throughout this whole pandemic, who they’ve stood shoulder to shoulder with at press conferences, relied on, put everything into the hands of to then suddenly ignore them?
Let’s not forget, as Des Gorman pointed out, "Eighty-five percent of New Zealanders are not vaccinated, they're not immune," he told Newshub.
So as he said, this makes us “unbelievably vulnerable”.
And that's not a time to take risks.
What we have here, is a continuity problem.
Medical staff say no, yet suddenly the government can ignore the advice of clinicians.
Either you respect the medical profession and take their advice, or you don’t.
But what the government now seems to be doing, is picking and choosing when they'll take that advice.
And if it doesn't suit their political agenda, they won't.