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Anger at breach, fears about 'conspiracy theories' during lockdown

Newstalk ZB,
Publish Date
Sun, 28 Feb 2021, 12:28pm
(Photo / NZ Herald)
(Photo / NZ Herald)

Anger at breach, fears about 'conspiracy theories' during lockdown

Newstalk ZB,
Publish Date
Sun, 28 Feb 2021, 12:28pm

Community leaders say they understand frustrations at Auckland's plunge into lockdown, but are calling for people to focus on crushing the latest outbreak.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said a man made a mistake by going to the gym when awaiting Covid-19 test results.

Announcing the latest lockdown last night, she voiced frustration, but urged Kiwis not to pillory the 21-year-old who allegedly breached health advice.

Papatoetoe High School principal Vaughan Couillault has been dealing with the fallout from recent cases for the past two weeks.

His school established a testing station after the mid-February outbreak and his community is home to multiple locations of interest where the latest cases visited.

Couillault today said reports of recent breaches would have irritated everybody who had been complying with rules and protocols.

"That is by far the vast majority of our community," he told the Herald.

"That group of people would be frustrated, and frustrated for all sorts of reasons."

He said annoyance stemmed not only from alleged breaches of Covid-19 guidelines, but from recognition of "how slippery this particular virus is".

Auckland returned to the stricter coronavirus regime less than a fortnight after a short "circuit-breaker" three-day lockdown began on Valentine's Day.

Couillault said despite this, Kiwis should move forward and focus on doing the right thing for themselves and the broader community.

He agreed with the Prime Minister that while frustration was understandable, attacking the latest case was not helpful.

"That energy you spend giving your opinion on something that's already happened is a bit of a wasted energy."

Manukau ward councillor Efeso Collins told Newstalk ZB the community was frustrated and also faced problems of conspiracy theories and misinformation.

"Sometimes you're going to have the brother, the sister, the aunty or the uncle that mucks up."

He said despite unhappiness at the latest case, people should concentrate on education and reintegrating people who made mistakes.

South Auckland faced much vitriol in previous outbreaks, Collins said, and the community knew the whole country was watching.

He said locals, including young people, had overwhelmingly worked hard to comply with rules and health advice.

"We're not just doing it for ourselves and our for our own whānau. We're doing it for the wider Aotearoa nation."

Collins told ZB challenges emerged from poverty and a dearth of official information distributed to homes where English was not the first language.

He said community leaders, some church leaders and social agencies had been trying to educate residents where central government messages weren't arriving.

The councillor said information should be dispensed in different languages including Samoan, Tongan and Hindi, widely spoken locally.

Collins was also concerned about misinformation.

"We're all now going to be locked up in the house with people who believe conspiracy theories, who're going to be preaching their messages."

That would trigger tension in some homes, Collins said.

He called for patience and for people to guard against complacency.

Collins said many New Zealanders would probably now accept that Auckland, where recent outbreaks have emerged, should be prioritised for vaccinations.

The city is also the main point of entry for people arriving from overseas.

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