So much for "a week is a long time in politics"; it only took a day to wipe the smile off New Zealand's collective Covid-free face.
Monday marked the Ministry of Health's "elimination day" - the magic number of 28 days (two full cycles of the virus' transmission) of no new cases since the last community transmission case came out of isolation.
It was "official" confirmation the Government's "go hard and go early" strategy and all the hard work and sacrifice by the "whānau of five million" had paid off. Official vindication of our past week basking in our Covid-free glory, our newfound alert level 1 freedoms, the world's accolades for crushing the virus, and the Prime Minister's "little dance".
We did it.
Yet a mere day later, we had two new cases: two women who flew to Auckland from the UK, had been in managed isolation, were given a compassionate exemption to visit a dying parent, and who travelled to Wellington where they tested positive for the virus.
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New Zealanders have been told all their sacrifices are for a reason, the harsh lockdown measures for a reason, the economic pain for a reason. We have been told about the work done to get our lab testing and our contact tracing up to speed, told of the necessity for our strict border restrictions and funeral rules, told we could be confident in our quarantine and exemption measures.
How could it go so wrong, and who is to blame?
It appears at this stage one of the women was symptomatic but had put it down to an underlying condition, the routine daily health carried out in managed isolation was not performed adequately so did not catch that, possibly compromising the subsequent granting of the compassionate exemption, and there was no test before leaving isolation.
There are no winners here.
The Government had previously been criticised for its lack of compassion and exceptions around funerals and tangi, and allowed for special exemptions. It has now revoked them. An obviously frustrated Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern fronted media yesterday, backing Health Minister David Clark and saying they had been let down; that the checks and balances they had been assured were in place had not been adhered to. She has appointed assistant chief of defence Air Commodore Darren Digby Webb to oversee all quarantine and isolation facilities.
Director general of health Dr Ashley Bloomfield has taken responsibility for the failings and "ensuring this does not happen again".
That is essential to fix the clear flaws in the system. But is it enough?
So many people have been let down: the women themselves, other individuals hoping for similar exemptions, staff and guests at the Novotel Auckland, and all New Zealanders, who have endured a lengthy lockdown with restrictions and sacrifices, and must now be wondering who to trust, fearful about the re-emergence of the virus and a return to higher alert levels. And what now for our transtasman or other travel bubbles?
Clark has surely reached the end of the line. He should offer his resignation or be fired by the PM. He is ultimately responsible for this significant breach, which comes after revelations two teens breached the same rules and went AWOL after attending a funeral, and his own personal travel-rule breaches during lockdown.
There must be meaningful accountability here; the whānau of five million deserves better.