Have Your Say: Have New Zealanders become too complacent about COVID-19?

  • 01/08/2020

Although New Zealand has no detected community transmission, the COVID-19 pandemic rages overseas and Kiwis are being urged to not get too complacent. 

While many countries face tens of thousands of active cases, New Zealand only has 22, and all are in managed isolation or quarantine. Our success in containing the virus means we now have some of the loosest rules in the world, with our key defence being at the border.

But three recent cases of individuals who have flown overseas from New Zealand before testing positive for COVID-19, including one who travelled to South Korea, have raised concerns. 

Testing across New Zealand hasn't found a locally transmitted case of unknown origin for three months and there is no evidence of transmission here involving the South Korea case.

Their contacts have been tested and all have come back negative. Extensive community testing is taking place this weekend in several centres the person visited.

Kiwis were told this week by the Director-General of Health and Health Minister to get tested if they are asked. That came as testing numbers dropped nationally. 

"I think people to some extent are feeling comfortable because of the position New Zealand is in and they don't necessarily see how important it is for us to keep our testing rates up. I don't think there is any ill intent by New Zealanders here, I don't think New Zealanders aren't willing to take one for the team if they need to, I just think at the moment they perhaps don't accept that they need to," Health Minister Chris Hipkins said. 

There have also been calls for people to use the COVID-19 tracing app.

"We're becoming quite complacent here in New Zealand," microbiologist Dr Siouxsie Wiles said.

"Obviously we're at alert level 1, so we're doing all of the kinds of things that if the virus does come back, are going to make it much easier to transmit. We just need to be really mindful that we keep washing our hands, if you are unwell call your GP and stay at home - don't go to work if you're unwell."

Have New Zealanders become too complacent about COVID-19?

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Have Your Say: Have New Zealanders become too complacent about COVID-19?

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