Parliament featured a rare show of unity yesterday after the government declared a state of emergency.
This gives it extraordinary powers which are deemed an acceptable response to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The cross party support doesn’t mean the government is above criticism.
The rapidly increasing number of people with the disease, following the trend of other countries which were ahead of us and with which we are fast catching up, gives credence to the view that the government’s escalation of alerts came too late.
And the tougher border controls are still too soft.
. . . Ardern said the Government would further tighten its already stringent border restrictions, including mandatory screening for the limited numbers of people who are legally still allowed to enter.
Anybody who displayed symptoms of Covid-19, could not demonstrate a clear plan for self-isolation, or could not travel to their usual residence while maintaining physical distancing, would be put into “approved facilities” for a period of quarantine. . .
This is a definite improvement on what has been happening, but it is still not going hard enough.
Everyone who comes into the country must be quarantined.
That is the only way to be as sure as we can be that no-one coming here could spread the disease to others.
The country-wide lock down is unprecedented.
It gives the government and its agencies sweeping and draconian powers that severely curtail our ability to work, move, socialise, and travel.
It will come at a huge economic and social cost.
Jobs have already been lost, more will be. Businesses will fail. Charities will be over-stretched and some of them will fail too. Education is being disrupted. Liberty has been curtailed.
Domestic violence will increase. Children who depend on school for food will go hungry.
The only justification for this is that the disease chain is broken and dies out in the shortest possible time.
Four weeks lockdown will be hard. Any extension because links in the disease chain are still connected will be harder still.
The only way to be sure all links are cut is to be strict about the lockdown that has been imposed and just as strict at the border to ensure that everyone who could have, or be carrying, the disease, is quarantined.