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It may surprise you to know that I was a difficult teenager. Dynamite. My biggest fear was being grounded during the school holidays. The threat of that was a trusty tool in my parents' box. After all, being grounded sucks.
Which is how Aucklanders must feel as the school holidays dawn. Grounded at home. Grounded from leaving the city. After seven weeks of lockdown, Auckland is ground down. Businesses are buckling and people are brassed off. Aucklanders need a break from level 3.
If you’ve been following the daily case count, over the past thirty days, the ticker has been stubbornly averaging around twenty cases a day. The outbreak hasn’t got substantially worse or better. Elimination is an illusion. When is the government going to stop the denial and publicly admit they are switching to active suppression.
Waikato will have put the wind up the Beehive. They’ll now be spooked about lowering Auckland alert to Level 2. But for the sake of the wider city, even if it’s a hairy-chested Level 2 or 2 point five, drop it they should.
The Ministry of Health should man up and go hard at Delta’s epicentre, the seven suburbs of interest that continue to spawn cases, including transitional housing. We need mandatory mass-testing, saliva-based, in a hyper local crackdown to lasso this virus where it’s seeding and spreading. Target those suburbs with elevated restrictions and let wider Auckland have a half-decent staycation, supporting and resuscitating local businesses, in Level 2.
Auckland’s iron ring, the boundary, is utterly dysfunctional. Workers should only be allowed to cross it if you’re fully vaccinated and pass a negative test, whether you’re on the road or jumping on a plane.
Beyond Auckland, many regions are agitating for Level 1. The most compelling case is the South Island, who haven’t clocked a Covid case for three hundred and thirty two days. Cup and Show Week will soon be trashed, if the South stays stranded in Level 2. Let them off the leash. Loosen the noose.
But it’s Auckland that really needs a breather. You’ve suffered and sacrificed, long enough.