It is difficult to avoid the impression that complacency has crept into the effort to safeguard New Zealand from Covid-19.
Far fewer Covid-19 tests have been undertaken during the current Valentine's Day outbreak compared to last August's virus scare. Data from the Ministry of Health showed the most tests ever performed in a single day in New Zealand was 25,007, which took place on August 16 at the height of the last outbreak.
The most tests carried out during the latest outbreak was 17,441 on Tuesday, February 16, 2021. There were more tests carried out on each of eight days during the August cluster.
Experts say the lower level of testing isn't likely to be a bad thing. University of Auckland Professor Shaun Hendy said health teams appeared to be using more targeted testing this time around, and there were fewer unknowns with the current outbreak.
Microbiologist Dr Siouxsie Wiles also cautioned against drawing comparisons between the August and February testing numbers but did say there had been a "slight difference in strategy" with a greater focus during the latest cluster on encouraging targeted groups to get tested.
"What we really need is people who have any symptoms to get tested along with those who have been instructed to get tested because they have been exposed," she said.
Meanwhile, according to information released by the Ministry of Health, we have failed against two measures of contact tracing that were earlier considered "critical".
The Government set a target of having 80 per cent of contacts of an index case located and isolated within four days. But in some cases related to two recent incidents, only 52 per cent of contacts were isolated within four days.
"Alongside reports from the current Papatoetoe outbreak that contacts were called but not visited, this shows the Government needs to do better with contact tracing," National Party Health spokesperson Dr Shane Reti said.
Additionally, there appears to be a very high number of Aucklanders "needing" to leave the lockdown zone, with 54,633 vehicles stopped at checkpoints at the city fringes between 6am on Sunday and 3.30pm on Tuesday.
During that period 822 vehicles were turned away – 240 at the northern checkpoints and 582 at the southern checkpoints.
Where we are doing well is in vaccinating, with between 8000 and 9000 already done, ahead of schedule and frontline health workers would start getting their jabs this week. A third shipment of Pfizer/BioNTech vaccines arrived on Tuesday, which adds a further 65,500 doses
True, vaccination is underway but we are still a long way from safe levels of resistance to this pandemic and any hint of complacency should be reined in.
It may be that the privileged experience with the pandemic by comparison with the rest of the world has us lulled. Word of zero new community cases yesterday will also have raised expectations that New Zealand has resumed a very blessed run through this pandemic.
Covid Response Minister Chris Hipkins shouldn't need to remind us we're "still in the critical period". But he did, in five words: "We're not quite there yet."