COMMENT:

It's easy with hindsight to say I told you so. And it gives me no pleasure at all that the country is now facing the prospect of another lockdown, simply because contact tracing wasn't taken seriously.

Someone close to the pit face in the Beehive's inner circle fighting Covid-19 confided some time ago that contact tracing was a shemozzle and that another Covid outbreak was inevitable.

Even director general of health Ashley Bloomfield said as recently as last week it was not a matter of if, it was a matter of when we'd be hit again.

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Now we are seeing how a South Auckland family of four, through no fault of their own, inadvertently pulled the trigger on the country after testing positive and we are now all facing the consequences.

This could all have been avoided.

More than two months ago the Ministry of Health launched a Covid tracer app which on the face of it was simple to use. It was as easy as swiping a supermarket item's barcode across the automatic checkout.

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Mine was downloaded then but going into bars, restaurants and retail outlets it was impossible to find a barcode, or what they call a QR code, to swipe. Few had bothered to put the poster up and reading the feedback to the ministry's website I wasn't alone.

One woman said after downloading the app also said there wasn't anywhere she could use it, including her local MP's office! She, like many other users wanting to take responsibility and play their part in combating the spread of the ghastly virus, uninstalled the app.

After the fresh Covid outbreak this week the Prime Minister is now urging us to install the app and is warning businesses (those that are still allowed to open) who don't display a poster to allow it to be used that they'll face penalties from next Wednesday.

Imagine if that was the directive from the Beehive from the outset. They wouldn't today be trying to trace those who came into contact with the family who went on holiday in Rotorua, with a day's sailing trip to Taupō. Or trying tracing those who visited their workplaces in Auckland, or to tracing those who came into contact with the carrier who visited the most vulnerable breeding ground for the virus, an aged care home in Hamilton.

At least the Beehive is now putting its foot down, urging us all to take responsibility. It should be mandatory to swipe the app, or at the very least to use one of the other tracing mechanisms that are now out there, before being admitted to a public gathering place.

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Let's hope the stable door can be now closed before too many horses have bolted.