Steven Joyce writes:
There are roughly three health scenarios at the end of four weeks. Things are much better, much worse, or inconclusive. If it’s getting worse we won’t be going anywhere. Much better is the dream scenario, but the most likely seems the inconclusive one. In that eventuality we can’t just roll the lockdown on as is – it will be too costly. We need to somehow get some economic blood flowing, and that will require some inventive thinking.
For example, will it be possible to partially reverse the shutdown, while maintaining social distancing to acceptable limits? We could start by widening the definition of essential businesses (adding butchers, fruit stores, hairdressers, and hardware stores say); give all exporters the ability to operate like the food companies; and open up online commerce at least for retailers. We are now one of the most wired countries in the world, so lets take advantage of that. By then families will be needing to buy things like winter clothes for the kids.
Even those limited moves would get some money back flowing. Once we have full confidence in our testing and contact tracing system we could go further.
We should start planning now what a safe border looks like in a Covid 19 world. What about testing everyone that arrives in New Zealand as standard practice, and placing those that fail the test into quarantine? It is a big logistical challenge but surely we are up for it.
It’s incredible that even today we’re still not testing all arrivals.