Here we are, back in alert level 2. It could be worse: we could be in level 3, like Auckland is. It is inevitable there is going to be some finger-pointing.
People who should have been in isolation broke the rules. One went to the gym, another worked a shift at KFC … with food … and lots of customers. But what can you do? You can't legislate against stupidity. The isolation was not to annoy them or remove their rights, it was to protect the vulnerable.
Now Auckland, especially, and the rest of the country, some of which is so far away from the cluster so as to be completely safe, are experiencing alert level conditions that were avoidable. Sports competitions, concerts, community events – many have been cancelled.
A darts tournament, for example. The 50th North Island Tournament due to be played at the Porirua Club from March 2-6 has been called off. People have put aside savings, taken leave from their jobs, made plans and booked accommodation, for it to be cancelled, just as it was last year, for the same reason.
There are many such cases.
Auckland businesses and tourism around the country will suffer from the latest alert level announcement.
Royal Wanganui Opera House shows have been postponed and we were really lucky that all the Saturday attractions had a clear run before level 2 hit. Waka ama, drags, steamboats, La Fiesta events … all went ahead with no impediment. Other events were not so fortunate.
This time, if cancellation and business victims are so inclined, there are people to blame, and it's not the Government. Officialdom is doing its best to contain the mistakes but has again called on the team of five million to help out.
It's too easy for New Zealanders to become complacent, having had little experience of community cases.
What we forget is that one person, through carelessness, ignorance or foolishness, can infect dozens of people. Those dozens can infect more before they're even aware they have the virus, and before long we could be in the same situation as so much of the rest of the world.
This virus kills. It leaves some victims debilitated for life. Already half a million Americans have died. That's more than twice the population of Wellington. More than two and a half million people worldwide have died. That's half the population of New Zealand. Millions have been left with a lifetime of illness to cope with.
So why would you ignore instructions to isolate until absolutely sure you don't have the virus? Why would you risk the lives of everyone? Is it stupidity, selfishness or a desire to inflict harm on others? We'll probably never know, but they do, and if it's the latter, why are we letting such people back into the country?
Those finding their way home should answer some questions as well as test for Covid-19. We need to know their ability to understand the seriousness of the situation.
Our Prime Minister rightly says we won't beat Covid by turning on each other, but we could at least ask for some personal accountability, couldn't we?