A British commentator has lambasted Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s ‘arrogant’ zero Covid policy, while the rest of the world is getting vaccinated and moving away from the virus.
Write in The telegraph, Matthew Lesh, Research Director at the Adam Smith Institute, criticized New Zealand policy eliminate, rather than slow the spread of the virus, despite New Zealand experts praising the government’s response.
New Zealand is at Alert Level 4 after a man from Auckland tested positive for the Delta variant of the virus on Tuesday. There are now 72 community cases in the country and over 290 places of interest across the North Island.
The country will remain at Alert Level 4 at least until Tuesday.
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Lesh criticized New Zealand’s approach, writing that eliminating the virus was an expensive strategy with limited benefits.
“New Zealand’s zero Covid strategy has had frightening consequences. A once welcoming nation turns into an isolated dystopia, where freedoms are stripped in the blink of an eye and outsiders are shunned, ”Lesh wrote.
Dr Ashley Bloomfield announces 21 new cases of covid-19 in the community, all but one in Auckland.
“Living under the constant threat of disruptive and psychologically overwhelming blockages. Be closed to the world, with the ability of citizens to travel reduced and foreigners largely barred from entering. So much for the open and welcoming liberal nation projected by Ms. Ardern ”.
Lesh questioned the point of lockdown and keeping borders closed for a virus, which with vaccines in the mix, has caused limited harm to people.
“New Zealand has not come to this realization. He has fetishized “zero risk” for the past 17 months and shows little interest in updating his strategy.
“Last week, Ms Ardern announced that New Zealand would maintain a ‘kill or’ kill ‘strategy until the next stage of the pandemic, even when more people are vaccinated.”
Lesh has been scathing at the slow deployment of the vaccine in New Zealand with only one in five of its population vaccinated, the second lowest in the OECD.
“The implications of New Zealand’s strategy extend far beyond Covid. “Zero risk” gives the state unlimited justification to interfere with our lives in the most extreme way.
“Individual choice, bodily autonomy and basic privacy become subsumed with the goal of removing anything that could do us even the smallest harm. Fear breeds tolerance for the most extreme actions. A liberal society becomes impossible to maintain ”.
Douglas Murray, also writing in The telegraph called New Zealand vying for the worst overreaction to Covid-19.
A new Covid-19 case of the Delta variant had plunged the country into lockdown, Murray wrote.
“There, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced a new lockdown this week. All this because of a single case of coronavirus … because of this single case, the whole country is now confined again. “
Murray said the “overreaction” in New Zealand and Australia had highlighted the absurdity of the zero-tolerance coronavirus mantra.
“Either you prepare to live with a minimal number of cases, or you have to lock down an entire country while only one person contracts the virus.
“This latest approach will not only kill entire economies, but will also kill whatever is left of society. No country can live like this. And if the island of New Zealand can’t get rid of the virus entirely, then probably no one can. ”
In a segment on GB News on Wednesday, former British politician Nigel Farage asked what was going on in New Zealand.
“Jacinda Ardern, the newly re-elected Prime Minister of New Zealand, regarded by so many around the world as this wonderful, fantastic and exciting woman… -old man, and she’s locking the country down.
“She locks the whole country down for three days, including the two islands – I mean working that one – and parts of the country for seven full days. This means that everything is closed, at least that’s what I understand ”.
Meanwhile, New Zealand experts have backed the government’s response to Alert Level 4.
Massey University mathematical biology professor Mick Roberts said he expected Alert Level 4 to be the government’s new choice response now that the country was battling the Delta variant.
Roberts said delta was “really mean”.
In his view, level four should remain the benchmark for the government until vaccination rates are much higher.
“Delta is twice as transmissible as Alpha, for example, which was one of the previous ones.
“We need to vaccinate at least 50% of the population. If we go up there, Delta will be about as transmissible as Alpha.
University of Otago epidemiologist Nick Wilson supported the overall response.
He said the swift move to Alert Level 4 did not repeat what he saw as New South Wales’ mistakes.
Those mistakes included relying primarily on contact tracing rather than strict lockdown measures, he said.