The COVID rebound.

I am aware of people who have kiwi kids elsewhere, who cannot repatriate. But the borders are closed, and this is why.

New Zealand has two more Covid cases today, with both infected people in isolation hotels after travelling from Islamabad and India.

Today’s new cases means there are now nine active Covid-19 patients in the country.

The first new case is a female teenager, who arrived on June 13 from Islamabad via Melbourne. Her family travelled with her and had tested negative.

The teen had been staying at the Auckland Novotel hotel.

The second case is a man in his 30s who travelled from India. He had been staying at the Grand Millennium hotel in Auckland.

The man came to New Zealand on an Air India flight, director general of health Dr Ashley Bloomfield said.

Both of today’s positive cases, and the people they are travelling with, have now been transferred to the Jet Park Hotel for quarantine.Both of the new cases were tested on day three of their isolation stay.

Chris Trotter says it better than me. He blames the neoliberal elite, and the institutionalized cowardice that permeates Wellington, where the prime command is Thou shalt not embarrass thine minister with has replaced, in this electronic panopticon Thou shalt not be caught. Ashley Bloomfield is the director general of health, and a public health physician.

The person I feel most sorry for is Dr Ashley Bloomfield. His own professional training (which, unusually in the neoliberalised state sector, actually relates to public health) told him that granting “compassionate” exceptions to the strict requirements of self-isolation and quarantine would be extremely unwise. That ruthlessly defending the border against Covid-19 was the only way to eliminate the virus. He had reckoned without the faux outrage of a news media seemingly unable to understand the need for all responsible New Zealanders to close ranks in the interests of national survival.

Day after day the journalists bleated. “What would you say to those who cannot say farewell to the their loved ones?” Simply by asking that question they must have known that they were helping to dismantle the crucial defences against a resumption of community transmission.

Would their counterparts at the time of the Blitz have asked Winston Churchill such a question? Would they have turned the natural grief of families caught up in a once-in-a-generation national crisis into an excuse for embarrassing the government? Would the journalists of 1940 have deliberately compromised the nation’s resistance for a cheap headline? Not bloody likely!

In the New Zealand of 2020, however, after years of neoliberal corrosion, the Parliamentary Press Gallery knows exactly how to break a civil servant’s resolve. They are well aware of the fundamental caution which utterly pervades the state sector. They know how determined senior members of the public service are to protect their ministers from the clamour of an aroused populace. Evoke sufficient emotion; enlist sufficient support from Opposition politicians; apply sufficient pressure; and to protect his Prime Minister even an Ashley Bloomfield will break. This is how we got compassionate exemption. The Gallery broke the will of the Director-General of Health and forced the Prime Minister to bend. I hope they’re happy.

And, of course, they are happy: in fact they’re delighted. So delighted that they’re still doing it. Still asking the Prime Minister and her Director-General: “What would you say to … ? Don’t you owe an apology to … ?

Chris Trotter, Bowalley Road

The correct response to the press would be to tell them, NO. Simply No. Too many people have mourned without a funeral, given birth without a mother or husband, died in ICU without visits inside NZ. What happens at the border is quarantine. It is hard. It is unfair. It will cause distress.

And it is needed.

Or we should stop criticising Boris Johnson, let in people from high risk areas, and accept that a few thousand elderly people will die as a consequence.

But the press won’t understand that.