Covid-19 Delta Outbreak: Jacinda Ardern Responds to ‘Smug Hermit Kingdom’ Comments on John Key

Sir John Key attacks government COVID-19 response – “Fear and hope is not a strategy”. Videos / Newsstock ZB

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Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern hit back at Sir John Key’s suggestions that the government is using fear as a motivation to vaccinate people – and that the Kiwis live in a “hermit kingdom of smog”.

Key criticized the government’s COVID response to its comments in the Herald this morning, saying “fear and hope is not a strategy.”

Key said he spoke when people told him they were “quietly collapsing” during the last lockdown.

He told Mike Hosking of Newstalk ZB that his goal is to change the way people think.

Writing in the Herald yesterday, Key called for a financial incentive rather than a fear strategy to increase the number of vaccinations.

He said: “The goal should no longer exist in a kingdom of sufficient hermits, but to return to a life where New Zealanders can travel abroad – for whatever reason – knowing that they can return home. at home when they want, and where we welcome visitors to this country again ”.

Key told Hosking that many people came to see him who had businesses that were quietly collapsing.

He said people should listen carefully to health advice, but fear and strategy are not the right approach.

Key cited the packaging of the cigarettes – the spooky pictures didn’t work but drove the price up.

Key said the country couldn’t do what it was doing – it had to reopen. “We really need to develop some resilience to stress and get people vaccinated. “

Ardern back with the Covid figures

Ardern told the M Show that the key was wrong because “hope and luck” did not give the country the lowest number of OECD cases, the lowest death rate, an economy that had returned to pre-Covid levels and not. the fewest restrictions. had known. “It wasn’t luck, it was a plan.”

And Ardern joked at the start of his RNZ interview this morning: “I wonder if you’re going to introduce me as the military leader of the Sage Empire.”

Ardern told RNZ the government was developing a policy based on the best evidence and released the information behind its decision making.

“Just make sure people know what our researchers and evidence overseas tell us that a higher vaccination rate does not prevent epidemics. I think it’s important for people to know that.

Ardern says that despite a large number of vaccinated citizens, many countries have imposed border restrictions.

Ardern told TVNZ she was “absolutely” happy with the five million vaccines she had received so far – but kept calling people out and getting the shots.

When asked about the lockdown, he admitted that prior to that New Zealand were able to defend themselves.

But when the vaccination rate reached a higher percentage, fewer restrictions could have been put in place, Ardern told TVNZ.

“We need a good broadcast there [of vaccination] – We need it all life. But when you get up around those 90 points, you start to see that it really makes a difference in everyday life.

People understood that the higher the vaccination rate, the better.

When asked if a New Zealand vaccine passport was a reality, Ardern said it was something the government was considering.

The key came to the Herald yesterday with a five-point plan:

1. Offer financial incentives to Maori and Pacific health providers for each person vaccinated over the next six weeks.
2. Give each person aged 12 to 29 a $ 25 voucher of their choice if they get vaccinated before December 1st.
3. Only allow vaccinated people into authorized premises (and park the Shot Bro bus outside some nightclubs as an incentive).
4. Tell New Zealanders when the borders will reopen. This can encourage more people to get bitten.
5. Stop ruling out of fear. Instead, reassure people that as long as you are vaccinated, it is possible to live with the virus. Fund Pharma to invest in treatments proven to help fight the virus, strengthen our hospital capacity and workforce, use saliva tests for COVID, subsidize home test kits for Covid and more.

Ardern acknowledged that Key’s Covid response ideas were reasonable – but noted that the government was already working on some of the measures he was proposing.

Some of these ideas concern the reopening of the border; The government had said there would be a change from the start of 2022.

In terms of incentives, providers in the field were already doing it. The same was happening with employers who offered incentives to vaccinate their employees.

He said plans for managed isolation are also already under consideration.

Key told Hosking that authorities knew the Kiwis were obedient people – proven by the lockdown – but the reality was that they couldn’t have vaccinated the remaining 20% ​​of the population without doing something drastic, like people not affiliated with outdoor concerts. exclude.

“Well that’s not a radical thing, our daughter was in Paris a few weeks ago … and you can’t go if you don’t have your vaccination passport.”

Key’s comments come as Auckland marked its 40th day of lockdown today.

18 new cases yesterday

The health ministry said 18 new cases of Kovid-19 were reported in the community yesterday.

All new cases are in Auckland.

Key criticized the government’s approach to dealing with isolation and said New Zealand should prioritize reopening borders.

Key wrote in the Herald on Sunday: “The goal should no longer be to exist in a kingdom of sufficient hermits, but to return to a life where New Zealanders could travel abroad – for whatever reason.” – knowing that they wanted to be able to return home, and where we welcome visitors back to this country.

“These are not sweeping goals, yet no coherent plan has been shared with the public as to when and how these can be achieved. For months we have seen our country closed, our people locked up, and our enthusiasm for locking people up. Throw out our citizens who are abroad.

Of the 18 cases reported yesterday, 16 have been epidemiologically linked, and all 16 are isolated at home or at MIQ, officials said.

The 18 cases are after the announcement of 16 cases on Saturday. Of those 16 cases, half were in isolation and half were in the community when they were contagious.

Meanwhile, 12 people with Covid-19 are hospitalized – four in intensive care or one in a high-dependency unit.

In the last 24 hours, 13,442 tests were performed. The vaccination campaign has taken a new step with five million doses.

Of these, 51,472 doses were administered yesterday.

The first dose of yesterday’s jabs was 19,350, and the second dose was 32,122 – and 82% of Aucklanders have now taken their first dose.

The hotel sector “a loss of 23 million dollars”

Meanwhile, Auckland’s hospitality industry has lost as much as $ 358 million in the first two weeks of the Level 4 lockdown – the equivalent of around $ 23 million per day.

Jamie Freeman, president of Hospitality NZ Auckland, told TVNZ that workers in the industry have really struggled during this lockdown.

“We are now at six weeks, so the damage will be quite severe. “

Auckland entered the 40th day of the last lockdown today.
Auckland entered the 40th day of the last lockdown today.

Freeman said some businesses would be weeks or even days away from permanent shutdowns.

“Once you close, after the trade is over, you can’t bounce back. “

The operators had said they got into debt, sell their homes and take care of their employees – the employees.

Freeman said additional financial support from the government would be the only thing that would help keep some businesses in the region afloat.

“We have to help now, just for a few months until the situation stabilizes.

“We need a wage subsidy below level 2 and it goes through level 1 – and then maybe the end of it – and a weekly or biweekly wage resurgence depending on the extent of the loss.”

Businesses need this support to survive, he said.

“We just need some action.”

“I’m really afraid of the number of people who will fall if they don’t” [help]”

Three cases detected at the border

Health officials also announced three new cases at the border yesterday. One of them was a new arrival from Russia via the United Arab Emirates on September 21.

The other two are historical cases. A person had come from Sri Lanka on September 11, whose infection was detected through a 12-day test. The other had arrived from the UK via Singapore on September 22 and tested positive on day 0.

Trials are underway in the six Auckland suburbs of interest. Yesterday 980 tests were carried out from Clover Park, Mangere, Favona, Otara, Manureva and Mount Wellington / Sylvia Park.

Everyone in and around Clover Park is encouraged to get tested, even if they have no symptoms. More than 2,140 tests have been processed from the suburbs since last Sunday.

More than 1,300 tests of Mount Wellington residents were also completed in three days.

Their nearest test stations include the Auckland Netball Center in St John’s and a test station at Mount Smart Stadium in Penrose.

A new pop-up test center opens today at the Tukau Rugby League Club.

The Pukekohe Pop-Up Community Testing Center is now at the Pukekohe Netball Center.

There have been 13,442 tests in the past 24 hours, including 4,498 in Auckland.

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