COMMENT

What we so often see in difficult times is common sense suspended.

Panic buying, people inexplicably continuing to take cruises, symptomatic people jumping on flights and then visiting cafes.

In all of this, we're relying on people to have some shred of decency and common sense.

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Sadly that was not the case with the Australian dance teacher who, despite being tested for coronavirus, hopped on a plane to Wellington. Then visited the Milk Crate Cafe which has elected to shut its doors for now. This is despite health officials assuring them the risk of any spread is low, but the cafe doesn't want to take that risk.

We need more forward thinking decent people making decisions like that at the moment, even though that decision is costing them.

They're citing a duty of care to their customers and staff and want to take precautions.

I would've thought erring on the side of caution is prudent right now. The cafe says it'll reopen when it believes it's safe to do so.

Which is all in stark contrast to the guy who decided he'd hop on the flight in the first place and potentially risk everyone else's health, having had a test for coronavirus and not knowing the result.

Which is why I'm glad to see yesterday's crackdown announcement from the Ministry of Health on self-isolaters.

"Travellers who can't convince border officials they have adequate arrangements for self-isolation could be sent home," according to Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield.

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The approach now, is that airport arrivals will be questioned before they reach the immigration desk, to make sure they have self isolation arrangements. How do they ensure this? Well travellers have to convince officials - I'm not sure how that works, but you have to have a convincing story and they have to believe it. If they don't believe it, authorities will send you back to the country you came from.

So that should give us all hope, given self-isolation seems to be our one-stop-shop approach to this thing.

And then late yesterday afternoon, the announcement that all events with more than 500 people should be cancelled. Should. Are we relying on common sense again here?

What about "must"?

It excludes schools and university events by the way. Which is crazy.

Kate Hawkesby. Photo / Michael Craig
Kate Hawkesby. Photo / Michael Craig

There are 490 schools with 500 students, 120 schools have more than 1000 students.

But they're staying open. Not only should that advice apply to schools and universities, but those institutions should be closed.

It's a no-brainer when we look at the worldwide effectiveness and importance of social distancing.