Compared to the rest of the world, down here we have had a very fortunate escape from the ravages of Covid19, largely because we are bobbing away in the ocean, 4,000km from anyone else.
The Delta variant of Covid19 has arrived, which many would say was inevitable, but unfortunately, as of Sept 1st, our vaccination rates are the second-lowest in the OECD and as a result, we were plunged into a Nationwide Lockdown with six hours’ notice on August 17th when one random case was found in Auckland. Level 4 Lockdown for us is Essential Workers only, all schools closed, and every one confined to their house unless buying food or medicine. As of Sept 7th, Auckland remains the center of infection and remains in Level 4, the rest of us have had a week of the partial reopening of service businesses and tomorrow see a further opening of activity.
The outbreak was genomically linked to a traveler from Sydney who tested positive in a Managed Isolation Hotel in Auckland. The official line is that no clear pathway out of the Isolation hotel into the community has been able to be identified.
However, it has been reported in the last couple of days that the Isolation Hotel also hosted a Vaccination Clinic in its atrium, and isolating returnees and the public shared the same air space in the atrium and a public walkway ran along slide an outdoor area of the isolation facility. There aren’t too many dots to join up there I wouldn’t have thought. We are now extremely vulnerable, we were unable to keep Delta out of New Zealand, so I have little confidence that it will be contained within Auckland, let alone be eliminated again.
We are doing everything we can to fortify our business, to protect our family, our staff, and our community around us. Spring is busy in normal times, in lockdown we are having trouble getting supplies and our biggest single business risk outside of the farm boundary is Covid19 leaking into the meat processing plants and slowing the processing of lambs being finished on our ryegrass seed crops prior to closing.
We had a huge natural advantage to keep Covid out until we got our population adequately vaccinated to withstand this virus, we no longer have that luxury. I am nervous.