Heather du Plessis-Allan: Govt's lockdown decision shouldn't surprise anyone

Publish Date
Mon, 15 Feb 2021, 4:29PM

Heather du Plessis-Allan: Govt's lockdown decision shouldn't surprise anyone

Publish Date
Mon, 15 Feb 2021, 4:29PM

Obviously, there are a few people out there raging at the government decision to put Auckland into level three lockdown, calling it an over-reaction, but it actually seems like a perfectly rational decision if you consider the context we’re working in. 

The government is running an elimination strategy.  As long as that is the case, there is no room for tolerance. 

The problem in this particular case is that it’s not obvious how this family got sick - and therefore how many more cases there could be out there - as well as being the apparently more contagious UK variant.

Thus, given the available information, in an elimination context, this seems the right decision.

It could be that health authorities find a whole bunch of cases and are vindicated in the lockdown decision. It could be that they find no cases and it does become in retrospect an overreaction. But again, given those choices, it seems rational to choose a short sharp lockdown over the possibility of a long, drawn out lockdown later on. 

Having said that, there is an argument to be made that this lockdown is too broad geographically.

Is it really necessary to force Invercargill bars and restaurants to only take 100 people at a time because it’s now level 2 down there? And, really, level 3 all the way to the Brynderwyns?  Again, surely we are now at the stage where we can refine the lockdowns to only the necessary areas. 

And finally, let’s hope this really is short and sharp.

I hope I’m wrong but I’d be surprised if we get out on Wednesday night given the government’s track record of hanging around in lockdowns longer than necessary

If this is the go-to strategy it seems to be, then it seems wise to make it as short and as harmless as possible.

But, as for lockdown itself, given the available information and given the context of elimination, is exactly what we all would’ve expected.