Auckland, March 30, 2020
At midnight on Wednesday March 26, 2020, New Zealanders, for the first time in our history, entered a period of compulsory self-isolation and a lockdown of our communities.
This requires us for at least a month to stay in our homes, with a few exceptions such as going to purchase groceries or necessary visits to the doctor.
This will impact hugely on us in terms of our lifestyle and normal routines, and, for many, the ability to earn a living. It will impact hugely on our economy at a level not seen since the Great Depression.
Drastic and unprecedented
The measures are drastic and unprecedented, but they are in response to a similarly unprecedented risk—the unchecked spread of the COVID-19 virus.
People widely accept the need for it if we are to stop the virus infecting and taking the lives of thousands of people, as it has in other countries.
The government has acted as it needed to, and now it is up to us to play our part and comply with what is being asked of us.
I urge everyone in our communities to treat the situation with the seriousness that it requires. Please stay at home other than when you need to go out for essential needs such as groceries or to see a doctor. Maintain physical distance of at least two metres from anyone outside your family group. Follow the guidelines provided by the government and we will get through this crisis together.
Seek trusted information
At this time, it is important to have a trusted source of official information.
The government’s covid19.govt.nz website has been set up to provide this. It has all the information you need, including guidelines for self-isolation, how to access financial assistance, and what to do if you feel unwell.
I encourage you to visit it regularly and share the information there widely.
Auckland Council information will be updated regularly at www.ourauckland.nz
Again, I encourage you to visit this site regularly and share it with your families and communities.
The period ahead will be hard for individuals, families and communities.
Anxiety and stress levels for many will be high, particularly for people who have lost jobs, and businesses which have lost their income.
We know, however, that the pandemic cycle will come to an end, and that this will happen earlier and without the loss of thousands of lives if we stop the widespread transmission of COVID-19 by self-isolating.
Please stay safe, stay at home and be supportive of others. Physical isolation needs to be accompanied by increased social interaction by phone or internet, especially for the elderly and those living alone.
These are the most challenging times of our generation, but we will get through them by working together and supporting each other.
Phil Goff is Mayor of Auckland. He writes a weekly column in Indian Newslink.