If you can’t afford to isolate . . .

Close contacts of people with Covid-19 are told to self-isolate, but some can’t afford to:

There’s concern people will choose not to scan Covid-19 QR codes because they can’t afford to go into self isolation.

More than 1000 people who were at Kmart Botany at the times of interest have been asked to stay home for 14 days.

Up to $585 per week is available for people who can’t work because they need to isolate.

That won’t come close Ro cover outgoings for a lot of people.

Auckland University’s Des Gorman told Heather du Plessis-Allan he is disappointed the Government isn’t willing to increase the payments.

He says compliance matters, and we have already see the cost non-compliance in this country. 

“I don’t think the Government’s thinking clearly enough about the counterfactual, the cost of lockdowns.

“Whatever the cost of properly subsidising people is, it’s going to be small against the cost of lockdowns.” 

Paying people enough is the carrot, is there also the need for a stick for those who then don’t comply?

However, Gorman also wants to see close or casual contacts more accountable for not complying. 

He says that there needs to be some surrendering of privileges in order to protect the community.  . . 

Heather du Plessis-Allan agrees:

I think we might’ve struck on the very reason that we have this Covid outbreak in Auckland right now:  Families can’t afford to stay home and isolate for two weeks 

The government support money is too miserly. 

We’ve been told this is the very reason that families of Papatoetoe High School students didn’t isolate for the full two weeks they were supposed to: because they need money, so they have to work. 

And today, a guy called Jeff phoned Kerre’s show to say a very similar thing. He was at Kmart when the infected worker was there so he is expected to stay home for the full two weeks.

He says he can’t afford to stay home on the government and, this is what should be ringing alarm bells for health authorities, if he’d known that he would have to stay home on this money, he wouldn’t have admitted he was at Kmart . . .

He also says he wouldn’t admit it again and who can blame him when you do the maths:

The truth is the government isn’t enough. The payment for a full time worker each week is $585.80. That might not sound that bad by itself, but annualise, and it’s $30,400. That’s not a lot – the hourly rate, is $14.6, that’s not even the minimum wage .

I wish I could tell the government was open to raising the payment but listen to Chris Hipkins yesterday.

“We are never going to be able to compensate everybody for every eventuality for every cost that they may occur as part of our Covid-19 response.” . . 

The government had multi-millions of dollars to throw at big tourist businesses but doesn’t have enough to pay people to stay home to prevent the spread of the virus and threat of lockdowns.

Paying people their full wage, or close to it would be expensive.

It would also be open to abuse by people who feel like a paid holiday.

But the border isn’t secure which makes the risk of community transmission real with the subsequent need for lockdowns.

Until now most people have been compliant but each time there’s an outbreak with or without a lockdown, more will run out of patience.

Each  time more will decide the risk of running out of money if they self-isolate is worse than the fear of the disease.

And each time that happens the likelihood of community transmission and lockdown increases.

Given all that’s been thrown at eliminating the disease already, it’s worth properly compensating people who self-isolate, and that would then justify having strong enough consequences to discourage anyone from not complying.

One Response to If you can’t afford to isolate . . .

  1. adamsmith1922 says:

    Reblogged this on The Inquiring Mind and commented:
    From the beginning, I have been concerned about this sort of thing. The failures of this government over Covid are becoming all too apparent, as is the fact that they are floundering.


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