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Jacinda Arden’s request of New Zealanders

Written By: - Date published: 10:51 am, March 16th, 2020 - 49 comments
Categories: labour - Tags: , ,

New Zealand now has its seventh case of covid (Queenstown). The government is set to announce an economic package in response to corona virus on Tuesday. Labour released this video yesterday:


  1. Wash your hands
  2. If you don’t need to travel overseas, then don’t. Enjoy your own backyard for a time
  3. Wash your hands
  4. If you’re sick, stay home
  5. If you sneeze, do it into your elbow
  6. Wash your hands
  7. Stop handshakes, hugs and hongi. I know this is counter to who we are as a nation but the best thing we can do right now to show love and affection to one another is to switch to the East Coast wave. If you don’t know what that is, find an East Coaster
  8. Please be mindful of the older citizens in your life. Check in on them, but if you are sick, keep your distance.
  9. Finally, we are a tough, resilient people. We have been here before. But our journey will depend on how we work together. We are taking every measure we need as a government and every step we can as a government and we’re taking them early. We ask that you do that too. We all have a role to play, look out for your neighbour, look out for your family, look out for your friends… look after your family, look after your older ones, we are all in this together.

For those that are still learning what is happening, this is a serious pandemic.  The main push in New Zealand is to prevent spread of the virus and to slow down the impact on the health system.

Microbiologist Souxsie Wiles’ series of explainers at The Spinoff.


49 comments on “Jacinda Arden’s request of New Zealanders ”

  1. bill 1

    When China shut down cities, NZ should have shut its borders. But no. Cruise ships continued to cruise and planes continued to land. I guess the priority was "the economy"?

    So NZ didn't isolate, and probably like others, I now have people in my life who I'd pick as being in the "fatality" camp should they get infected.

    So what now?

    Well. How about adopting the proposal of America's most maligned politician? How about a $1000 per month payment to every single person so that (for example) people living on NZ's inadequate entitlements can stock up with food and other essentials in preparation for periods of self imposed isolation?

    And how about putting a moratorium on any and all evictions and/or foreclosures and so on (as proposed by Sanders)?

    Or is that too much of a focus being given to the human economy when we all know everything stands or falls on the health of the financial economy?

    edit. Washing hands doesn’t do much to prevent airborne infections. Just saying. But sure – people want to feel as though they are doing something useful and I guess that has a psychological impact.

    • Sacha 1.1

      Washing hands doesn’t do much to prevent airborne infections. Just saying. But sure – people want to feel as though they are doing something useful and I guess that has a psychological impact.

      This is a droplet infection so washing hands is very important to prevent spread.

      Please do not spread falsehoods about a topic you clearly do not know much about. It can be dangerous, not merely annoying.

      • On the contrary, it is both droplet and airborne. Bill is right, washing hands is only so effective, but not totally.

        Most effective is everyone, especially sick people, wearing masks (and washing hands!)

        • Sacha

          Sheesh. The range of transmission in air is strictly limited – hence the success of ‘social distancing’ measures. The only effective masks are not the ones available to the public.

        • weka

          the point of public health measures isn't to control the virus absolutely but to slow down transmission so that the health system can help people that get seriously ill.

          The protocols that are being published by health authorities are science and researched based ie they studied coronavirus transmission in China and now other countries and figured out the best ways to slow transmission collectively as well as protect some individuals.

          Masks are useful for people who are sick, to limit outward movement of the virus. They not so useful for protecting oneself.

          Airborne CV has a limited lifespan and distance. It's not like it's going to be freely floating around in the air all the time over distances.


          As Sacha says, it's dangerous to get the protocols wrong and spread falsehoods.

          • Rosemary McDonald

            Perhaps we wash the hands and wear the mask if going into situations where there could conceivably be a concentration of virus in the air?

            Mask wearing whilst away from home is practically mandatory in some Asian countries at the moment because of population density and prevalence of disease. Here, at the very least, masks should be donned while visiting hospitals and clinics, schools and the like…just in case?

            The hand hygiene thing can't be overemphasized though.

            I am amazed at how much crap Peter picks up on his hands while getting around places like the supermarket….now I'm having to wash them more often.

            • weka

              My understanding is that outside of hospitals etc, wearing a mask is useful if you are the one who has covid, to lessen droplets going out into the environment that other people share with you. The other people wearing the mask is way less effective in terms of self-protection. There are some nuances there, depending on the mask tech, but most of the public can't buy the high tech masks now.

              I think the distance/time thing is crucial. 2 metres and for less then 15 mins. I'd be more stringent about that for people that have pre-existing conditions and the elderly. I'm thinking about this in terms of things like ride sharing and sitting in a car with someone. Or waiting in line in the bank.

              Being on a bus/train, I don't know that wearing a mask does much to protect oneself from infection.

              • Herodotus

                Next time you are out in public, see what happens when a "mask" wearer sneezers, they remove the mask, so that they can deal with the consequence of sneezing i.e tissue over face, use of "elbow". Point is no one (knowing they are going to sneeze) sneezes wearing a mask !!!

        • woodart

          so I can go into my bank wearing a mask..cool!

      • mauī 1.1.2

        "This is a droplet infection so.."

        Can you please not spread falsehoods about this virus? There is evidence that the virus can/could be transmitted through the air. (https://thehill.com/policy/healthcare/487110-tests-indicate-coronavirus-can-survive-in-the-air)

        Since this virus ceased to exist just a couple of months ago and we've barely got much of an understanding of how it goes about its business, wouldn't the wise move be to exercise extreme caution.

    • Molly 1.2

      Hi Bill,

      Just read your comment after reading the 36th Covid update on MedCram. (- can't remember who posted it here, but thanks for that.)

      In it, they refer to a study awaiting peer review on the transmission of the virus, (starts at 4.14. )

      While airborne rates are high, and the virus stays active for hours, the virus can remain active for days on stainless steel surfaces and polypropelene. Making the requirement for those supporting those in isolation to consider the cleanliness of surfaces when dropping off supplies or providing services.

      Washing hands is very important in terms of protecting yourself, and decreasing the likelihood of contamination, when touching communal surfaces. The handles of shopping trolleys, ATM or EFTPOS machines petrol pumps etc.

      (I do agree that some thought needs to be focused on people, as people. Rather than business units. It would be good to see some clear decisions made in this regard.)

      • bill 1.2.1

        In other words, if I walk through a space a few hours after it's been dosed with coronavirus aerosol (someone coughed, breathed, sneezed) and I'm wearing rubber gloves and I don't touch a damned thing, and I wash my hands anyway…it's just my breathing in and out that may lead to me becoming infected – which is in line with what I said about hand washing not doing much in relation to airborne infection.

        Infection from contact with surfaces is another matter.

        • Incognito

          “Based on what we know about other respiratory viruses, we don’t think that SARS-CoV-2 [COVID-19] gets aerosolized in everyday settings,” Morris said. “Rather, aerosolization, if it happens at all for SARS-CoV-2, is likely to happen in health care settings,” according to recent studies, Morris said.


          • Sacha

            Thank you again.

            Unless you are working in a clinic, infection comes from being close to people directly breathing or coughing on you, or from touching surfaces they have done that on.

            Interact at a safe distance. Wash your hands. Ignore fearmongers.

          • bill

            "Based on what we know about other respiratory viruses" versus "a study awaiting peer review on the transmission of the virus".

            And from your link "Morris versus Gordon".

            She and other experts already assumed that aerosol transmission of SARS-CoV-2 "may be a concern, because we had seen that with SARS," Gordon said. While the new study supports their speculations, she said that scientists should be "cautious" about how they interpret the results.

            dingding. (Bikini clad lass in respiratory mask steps through the ropes and does yesteryear's obligatory circuit of the ring)

        • McFlock

          well, no, it's about probabilities.

          Sure, you might get covid-19 walking through a space hours later. But for that to happen on anything other than a statistically infintesimal likelihood, entire flights should be testing positive just because one passenger had it when they got on board.

          But getting it from the hand rails or doorknobs in that space hours later and touching unwashed hands to your mucous membranes? That's a non-trivial probability.

          If walking through a space hours after a sneeze was a problem, NZ hospitals would already be swamped.

          • bill

            ffs. I said "may", and you wrote "no, it's about probabilities". I'm missing something here, right?

            Because apart from that piece of b/s (and something that would seem to assume 100% infection rates or zero infection rate with nothing inbetween), you head off into the weeds of solid surfaces as the source of infection – which I already wrote is where handwashing and whatever in the way of physical barriers come into play 🙄

            You want to talk probabilities? Okay.

            On that there train carriage, you sat on seat number F3. The guy on seat A2 got off at the stop before you got on. They were infectious and you breathed in some portion of their expelled breath on your way to seat F3…

            Or, in the supermarket, you wiped the trolley handles and even walked around with a spray can of Oust – offloading a squirt on each purchase going into your trolley. Guy in isle 4 had a snuffle and a sneeze right before you circled round from isle 5…

            That big modern building where you work that's so modern the air you breathe is recycled and the windows don't open…

            Basically zero chance of getting infected from physical contact in those imagined scenarios. Definitely more than zero chance of getting infected from inhalation though.

            • Sacha

              Bill, you seem upset about this situation and this line of conversation is going nowhere. Is there anything we can discuss that would be more helpful for you?

              • bill

                Dearest Sacha. I'm experiencing close on zero tolerance for McFlock's tired old routine of dragging discussion into weeds of irrelevance. I hope that clears things up for you somewhat.

                Hmm. The bullshit of concern trolling might also be hitting my radar, aye? 😉

                • Sacha

                  I'd like to hear more about what you originally said above at #1:

                  How about a $1000 per month payment to every single person so that (for example) people living on NZ's inadequate entitlements can stock up with food and other essentials in preparation for periods of self imposed isolation?

                  It's a very real fear for many people I've known too, not having the slightest chance to 'get prepared' because there simply is not enough in the kitty. Barely scraping by week after week after week.

                  Others of us may lose jobs without a way to keep up expenses like rent or mortgages or food or bills including the internet or phone that keep us connected.

                  It's scary and confusing and frustrating. Hope this comes to pass:

            • McFlock

              You also said hand washing not doing much in relation to airborne infection.

              Which is patently false in the case of the pandemic facing us at the moment: covid-19.

              Because if your scenario was something to rationally worry about in the real world (walking through the same space hours later), then the person on the bus would infect everyone on the bus, you'd have a better than 0.75 chance of getting it in aisle 4, many people in the building would be infected in a single day, everyone on the flight that aussie took over and in the cafe he ate in and many people in the hotel he slept in would become infected. And that's been happening for at least 3 months. Covid-19 would already seriously infect millions of people and have an R0 in the hundreds.

              You know why we don't have that many serious infections? Because your scenarios are hyperbolic scaremongering. Wash your goddamned hands and keep a physical gap. It works.

              • bill

                That doesn't make much sense McFlock. (And I was merely pointing to the efficacy of handwashing when transmission can occur by inhalation – didn't say anything about "worry" or hit anyone up with any "we're all going to die" b/s)

                You appear to be repeating the suggestion of 100% infection rate on the one hand for a given source/vector, and on the other hand, an infection rate of 0 for the same source/vector. (Whatever happened to that notion of probability from your initial foray into this sub-thread?)

                There's a doubling rate of about 6 days, aye? (Some publications say 4).

                Anyway and whatever – high time for the US to lift all sanctions on the likes of Iran and Venezuela, yes? Oh. I forgot. Nicaragua has just been added to the list. So there goes that notion of Congress discovering some humanity and expressing it to any degree.

                • McFlock

                  Not every microbe you encounter will be able to make you its host and infect you. Not every microbe released by someone else will even reach you. If someone coughs in your face, you have a much higher chance of being infected than if they coughed across the room and a diluted air sample wafted a few micro-droplets in your direction.

                  But in this particular thread, a disease that for any realistic measure "may" infect you if you walked through the same space hours later will almost certainly infect you if that person coughed right into your face. A massively greater number of germs right into your eyes, nose, and mouth, and possibly even breathed into your lungs.

                  And yeah, in reference to this outbreak, talking about infection hours after the sick person walked through a space is scaremongering.

                  • bill

                    Try reading what I wrote McFlock.

                    I was obviously drawing the distinction between the fact of airborne infection and washing hands/wearing gloves as a preventative measure in the face of possible infection.

                    And I made the distinction off the back of info provided in the vid link put up by Molly, and because people seemed a tad upset at my original (and I'd say) bog standard and somewhat obvious statement about hand washing as a preventative measure against airborne infection.

                    You seriously think it’s scaremongering to point to handwashing not being much cop against airborne infection? k. Whatever gets you off.

                    • McFlock

                      Did you intend your comment to be relevant to the current pandemic that is the topic of the post?

                    • bill

                      Good grief, but you're being a prick. Read my initial comment and highlight the irrelevance. Then read my reply to Molly, and likewise, highlight the irrelevance.

                      As per usual, the only irrelevant comments I make in regards to a post occur, as this one, in response to your interjections that drag towards the weeds.

                    • McFlock

                      I'm "being a prick" because when people start introducing hollywood disease scenarios into discussions about a real-life pandemic, that just encourages panic which in turn accelerates systemic failures that would otherwise be mitigated or even avoided.

                      And once again, if your scenario were relevant to the current pandemic, the current pandemic would be several orders of magnitude worse than it actually is.

                    • bill

                      Coronavirus can be caught by simply sharing the same breathed air as another. That's not "Hollywood".

                      I have no idea why that simple fact should induce panic in you. (Flu spreads in much the same way). Neither can I grasp how me stating the fact of its airborne character could in any way “accelerate systemic failures”.

                      Actually. If everyone was to go about their social business blissfully unaware there was a chance of infection via airborne particles, then their ideas of “social distancing” wouldn’t cut the mustard in terms of slowing the spread of the disease.

                      That it is airborne simply means the pandemic is exactly as bad as it is. (Obviously)

                    • McFlock

                      At which timecode of that youtube vid did it say that the bounds of lab detectability as reported in a single unreviewed study translated into anything close to "if I walk through a space a few hours after it's been dosed with coronavirus aerosol (someone coughed, breathed, sneezed) […] it's just my breathing in and out that may lead to me becoming infected" as something a normal person should worry about?

                      edit: from incognito’s link in comment

                      “We still don’t know how high a concentration of viable SARS-CoV-2 is needed in practice to infect a human being, though this is something we are looking to model in the future,”

                      That’s the point, right there. I suggest you read the entire link.

                    • bill

                      You're such a fear riddled monkey there McFlock. It's kinda disgusting. I never said anything along the lines of "people should be worried".

                      This entire sub-thread was based on the simple and obvious premise that hand washing has limitations when considering airborne infection. -end-

                    • McFlock

                      If subthread including the "hours later" scenario was an abstraction with no relevance to the current covid-19, why include the sentence:

                      "There's a doubling rate of about 6 days, aye? (Some publications say 4). "

                      Because that clearly implies a specific disease in mind, specifically covid-19, no? So the subthread includes real comments about c19, and abstractions that aren't relevant to covid-19, which is begging for casual readers to confuse your omagerds about "airborne" viruses and actual descriptions of the current conditions as have been reliably demonstrated.

                    • bill

                      List the abstractions that aren't relevant? As an aerosol, the virus remains viable for hours. Therefor it's conceivable to pick it up in an empty room/space. If you think two hours (which is in line with the study Molly linked) is much too long a time, then why not just say so and maybe suggest a more appropriate lapse of time you believe to be more conceivable in terms of picking up infection – instead of wanking on in black and white terms (of seeming denial) for comment after hour after day?

                    • McFlock

                      All the abstractions.

                      Until “We still don’t know how high a concentration of viable SARS-CoV-2 is needed in practice to infect a human being” is resolved, "conceivable" is pointless bullshit. It's "conceivable" that the detectable viral viability is a massive undercount because it maybe blows off polished surfaces with a light breeze and maybe a static discharge. If even one single viable virus does that it's "conceivable" that you could catch the disease days after a single cough in that same space. O. Ma. Gerd. We're all gonna die. I conceived it, so let me tweet that out, put it on FB, make a fucking youtube video. It's conceivable.

                      But then everyone who walked through Wellington airport or Dunedin airport in the last week will get the disease, and that would have happened with the first imported cases, too. Given we only have 12 cases rather than 1,200+, I suspect spending several hours within a few feet of the person at the time of their coughing is a more likely scenario. Because right now we aren't having to treat 20% of every planeload that delivered a sick passenger, and the other passengers on that plane did exactly that.

                      So it's reasonably conceivable that the viral load required to give a probability of transmission that is more in the ballpark of "did you just cough on me? You dickhead" than "if I walk through a space a few hours after it's been dosed with coronavirus aerosol (someone coughed, breathed, sneezed) […] it's just my breathing in and out that may lead to me becoming infected"

                      And insisting that last abstraction is relevant to the current pandemic will just make people buy more bogroll they don't need, because all the extra handwashing will probably really cut our bacterial gastro rates, as well.

                • Descendant Of Smith

                  The point about handwashing is that the virus, while it can be inhaled, is more likely to land on you, your hands or some surface that you then touch. Hand-in-hand with the handwashing is the don't touch your face message – surprisingly harder than it seems for most people. From one medical website.

                  "Respiratory viruses like coronavirus disease (COVID-19) spread when mucus or droplets containing the virus get into your body through your eyes, nose or throat. Most often, this happens through your hands. Hands are also one of the most common ways that the virus spreads from one person to the next.

                  During a global pandemic, one of the cheapest, easiest, and most important ways to prevent the spread of a virus is to wash your hands frequently with soap and water.

                  And soap is the better option.


                  • bill

                    You think I don't get the whole contaminated surfaces angle? You read anything I've written suggesting people shouldn't wash hands?

                    More and less likely (surface and airborne infection) is going to come down to the specifics of a situation and (I guess) the total number of people infected.

                    But whatever, I agree that a cheap and effective way of preventing contamination from surfaces is hand and surface washing.

                    I'm still a bit aghast that people took such umbrage over the mention of the obvious limitations around hand washing. I could almost suspect some people thought handwashing and not touching ones own face was tantamount, or close, to complete protection.


                    • McFlock

                      It's because a genuinely "airborne" method of transmission (micro-droplets that hand in the air, not larger droplets that fall to surfaces pretty quickly) with air infectiousness "hours" after a single cough, no vaccine (or confirmed treatment), a ten day asymptomatic infectious incubation period, reinfection likelihoods, and a ~3% case mortality rate is the sort of thing that makes anybody even close to knowing what that means shit their pants.

                      This pandemic is bad, but manageable. The above scenario is Mad Max shit.

                    • bill

                      lol And who was that wanking on about a simple observation on the limitations of handwashing being scare mongering who's now throwing talk of 3% mortality rates and reinfections about the show?

                      Seems you really are a riddled fear monkey. 😉

                    • McFlock

                      You see the bit where I made it clear that the scenario wasn't relevant to the current pandemic?

                      That's the bit you didn't include.

        • Stunned Mullet


  2. Sacha 2

    The importance of adjusting the language used: https://sciblogs.co.nz/psychology-report/2020/03/16/if-your-comms-message-is-suboptimal-change-it/

    1. The Ministry of Health has changed its messaging around self-isolation to Stay at Home.

    2. Physical distancing vs social distancing.

    Let me elaborate a little: We know that social contact is the biggest protective factor in a crisis, and we know how corrosive loneliness and anxiety can be. Physical distancing is appropriate and likely to be helpful in managing risks – 2m apart and contact for no longer than 15 minutes. However, what we need is social cohesion, not distance.

  3. adam 3

    But whatever you do, don't mention the sanctions that the USA has keep in place in the face of this.

    And don't mention the fact that power companies, telecommunications companies and the rest are going to do the same thing to the poor in this country.

  4. Observer Tokoroa 4

    Just to say …

    It is good of Bill to let us know that washing hands thoroughly is silly.

    lord knows what other bits and pieces he doesn't Wash. The one good thing is, it keeps him happy. Keeps himself in the limelight.

    But, do they let him loose on the streets and in the Food Shops where he can handle anything that takes his fancy.

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