Learn from NZ, Asutralia

By August 23, 2021Random Thoughts

By Leonardo Micua


“DAD, we’re on lockdown”. That was the cryptic message on my FB messenger from my daughter-n-law Mirasol from Auckland, New Zealand last Tuesday at 3:30 p.m. (8:30 p.m. NZ time). Two hours earlier, she and my two granddaughters , Sophia and Isabelle, watched their Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern on TV announcing the snap lockdown beginning 12:00 midnight that day.

I messaged back Mirasol: “How come?” She told me later that NZ just registered its first COVID-19 case in eight months when a couple from Davenport went to the North Shore Hospital for RT-PCR test. The unvaccinated man tested positive but his fully vaccinated wife, turned in a negative result.

All because of NZ’s lone COVID-19 positive, the whole Auckland region and Coromandel City were placed under Alert Level 4 and in lockdown for seven days while it was Alert Level 3 for the rest of New Zealand and in lockdown for three days, said Marisol. My son J. Chap at that time was in the New Zealand capital of Wellington.

My two granddaughters were again back to their respective online classes. Marisol did not report to work the next days at the dental clinic which was also closed like other establishments. She’s not worried about lockdowns because the NZ government extends subsidy to workers who cannot report for work as well as industries affected by the lockdown.

The first COVID-19 case of New Zealand since February was  treated by its government as a Delta case even if the result of genome sequencing was still not available as a preemptive move against a full-blown health  crisis. When the result of this came after less than six hours, they were proven right. It was a Delta case.

Over in Australia, the entire New South Wales was in lockdown, too, from August 15 till August 31. because of the onslaught of the Delta variant. My other son Jose Dennis and his wife MJ just moved to Canberra, the Australian capital, from NSW the day before the statewide lockdown was ordered.

But when they arrived in Canberra on August 14, they found the Australian Capital Territory also in lockdown till August 31 because of its first COVID-19 case, which was also treated as Delta. Nevertheless, the couple were allowed in and told to quarantine themselves and take RT-PCR test after two or three days since they came from NSW. They tested negative.

The way New Zealand and Australia handle their COVID-19 cases are a wee different from us. They nip their cases immediately in the bud at the first opportunity while we take our sweet, sweet time before we extinguish a fire.

We should take NZ and ACT (Australian Capital Territory) as models in handling COVID-19 cases for us to get us out of the rut by never taking any threat, though how small it is, lightly or for granted.

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Admittedly, the number of active cases in Dagupan is steadily rising. As we write this piece, the number of active cases already totaled 278 and still counting. 

But based on the explanation of Dr. Rheuel Bobis, COVID-19 focal person in Region, Dagupan was placed on Level 4 alert classification because of high level of utilization of its available hospital beds, not because of its spiraling COVID-19 cases.  

The big factor in Dagupan City, being the center of health care institutions, the biggest of which is the government-owned Region I Medical Center, is it caters not only to patients from Dagupan but also from Pangasinan and adjacent provinces. 

Corollary to this, Mayor Brian Lim issued a new E.O. No. 26, but without its full text, extending the curfew from 11:00 p.m. to 4:00 a.m. to the new 9:00 p.m. to 4:00 a.m. He also ordered the suspension of the every early morning of Sunday Run and Bike, prohibiting minors and senior citizens from 65 years old and up from going out of their houses and the strict enforcement of the minimum health standard protocol.

Unfortunately, there’s nothing there that could help abate the further spread of the virus and prevent the highly transmissible Delta variant from getting into Dagupan.  

We want to see the full text of the E.O. to find the justifications the city is taking such measures, like the imposition of a longer curfew and its exemptions if any. But no complete EO was posted on FB, except those things city hall wants the people to follow that were reduced to just few words. 

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