Should we ban fat residents also from returning home?

One News reports:

A group of unvaccinated New Zealand resident holders are threatening to take legal action against the Government, saying they are stuck overseas and are unable to return to their homes.

Many are long-time permanent residents and residents of this country, who have lived here for decades.

Aucklander Holly Atkinson is one of the group’s 750 members, which calls itself “The Forgotten of New Zealand”.

The long-time permanent resident has lived in New Zealand since she was 9 years old, but travelled to in March. She was planning to return through MIQ after two weeks with her grandfather, who had been violently attacked in a home invasion.

So she has lived here since she was nine, is a permanent resident, eligible to vote in our elections and has a job in NZ, but the Government won’t let her return home.

While her decision not to be vaccinated was a “personal choice”, she felt the discrepancy between citizens and resident holders was unfair – with one able to return, and the other unable to cross the border.

“It’s really, really tough feeling like am basically shut out, so please, I would love it if you let me back in,” she said.

“If MIQ had said to us, ‘hey, you actually can’t get back in, because you’re unvaccinated and a permanent resident’, would still be in New Zealand now.’

Lawyer Matthew Hague made the same argument in a letter to the Government earlier this week. He argued that there was “no risk” to changing the policy, as there are currently thousands of Covid cases in the community every day and all travellers are tested anyway.

“They have jobs in New Zealand, they pay taxes, their children go to our schools, many are on the pathway to citizenship and we’re asking the Government to treat these people fairly,” he said.

“Every single international returnee to New Zealand has to provide a negative covid before they enter New Zealand, and there’s simply no justification for excluding residents and permanent residents, there’s no risk from this group of people.”

One can only agree.

However the argument is sparking debate; public health physician Professor Michael Baker believes increasing the number of unvaccinated people in the community would increase risk generally.

“In principle every extra person we add to New Zealand’s who’s unvaccinated increases the risk of transmission of Covid 19 and any other disease they’re not vaccinated for,” he said.

“In addition they run the risk they’re more likely to wind up in hospital seriously ill and potentially occupying a bed that’s needed for other patients.”

On the basis of that argument, we should also ban fat residents from returning home. They are far more likely to need hospitalisation if they get Covid-19.

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