By Claire Edmondson, General Manager, Infrastructure New Zealand

It has been a question of when, and not if, the Delta variant of COVID-19 would reach our shores. It is now here and it is a game-changer. It continues to infect and kill masses around the world.

The presence of the Delta variant in our community has caused major disruption for New Zealanders. When we learnt last Tuesday there was one confirmed case of COVID-19 in our community, many of us knew a full lockdown was imminent. New Zealand remains in a Level 4 lockdown – Auckland will remain at this level until next Tuesday (31 August); for the rest of the country, the lockdown is in force until tomorrow (Friday, 28 August) and will be reviewed then.

Several overseas media outlets appeared gobsmacked over New Zealand’s decision to move the whole country into a full lockdown over just one confirmed case. That reaction was quickly proven ill-informed when the number of COVID-19 positive cases started increasing at pace.

The source of the latest community outbreak is most likely a leak from a quarantine facility – this episode is enough reason for a review of some of our COVID-19 response and containment strategies, e.g. managed isolation and quarantine facilities being concentrated in the nation’s most populous region.

This is especially relevant as the government has indicated that measures such as lockdowns and closed borders could not be sustained forever and would be reassessed.

For the moment, the current lockdown, good hygiene practices, socially distancing ourselves, getting tested if unwell, following government advice and getting vaccinated remain our best bets.

Government assistance is available. Some of the more prominent schemes for our members would be the Resurgence Support Payment and the Wage Subsidy August 2021. Also available are the Leave Support Scheme, the Short Term Absence Payment and childcare support for essential workers.

There are also mental help services available. Further information can be accessed here.

We will continue providing you with updates as they become available.

Stay well and feel free to reach out if we can be of any help.

Kia kaha