We can learn from bor­der slipup in NZ

Fiji Sun - - COMMENT - NE­MANI DE­LAIBATIKI Feed­back: ne­mani.de­laibatiki@fi­jisun.com.fj

Just when New Zealand thought it is free from COVID-19, it has recorded two new cases.

Two women who ar­rived at Auck­land Air­port from the United King­dom and were in quar­an­tine were tested pos­i­tive in Welling­ton. They had been given per­mis­sion on com­pas­sion­ate grounds to travel to the cap­i­tal city.

The in­ci­dent has caused a big furore over the slipup, it was ob­vi­ous some­one or more were sleep­ing on the job in Auck­land at the bor­der.

It’s an em­bar­rass­ment to the New Zealand Gov­ern­ment which prides it­self in be­ing thor­ough. It has also been praised for the way it elim­i­nated COVID19. The lat­est in­ci­dent there­fore came as a shock.

But it goes to show that things could go wrong if we be­come com­pla­cent or let our guard down. Life has re­turned to nor­mal in New Zealand af­ter it went to level one with no more com­mu­nity trans­mis­sion. Psy­cho­log­i­cally, peo­ple be­lieve that they are free and there­fore have re­laxed tak­ing pre­cau­tion­ary mea­sures like wear­ing of masks and gloves.

We should learn from the New Zealand ex­pe­ri­ence and en­sure that while there is no more com­mu­nity trans­mis­sion we must main­tain our vig­i­lance at the bor­der and other front­line hot spots.

Prime Min­is­ter Voreqe Bain­i­marama will soon be mak­ing an im­por­tant an­nounce­ment and peo­ple are al­ready wish­ing for the lift­ing of all re­stric­tions. The an­nounce­ment could also in­clude the re­lease of a new app that will rev­o­lu­tionise con­tact trac­ing. It would make the process of quickly track­ing down car­ri­ers a lot faster and safe.

The new app is only good if hu­man in­put com­plies with all the pro­to­cols. It’s the same with any sys­tem, We may have the best sys­tem, but if we don’t do our part it will fail.

It only takes one or more per­sons to drop their guard to com­pro­mise the sys­tem as it hap­pened in Zealand.

Fiji has a ro­bust bor­der sur­veil­lance and the front­line staff have been awe­some. Even if we have to re­open the bor­der there is high pub­lic con­fi­dence that our front­line staff will not let us down.

Prime Min­is­ter Voreqe Bain­i­marama.

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