Hospitality will rebound when the time is right; now is not the right time.

The Editor,  The Herald,  Auckland


Hospitality is not an ‘essential service’.  Nor has it ever been a steady business sector. Read the rest of this entry »

Always say, No “known” cases of community transmission

The Editor,  The Sunday Star Times,  Auckland


Hello Sunday Star Times,

From the very beginning of the novel coronavirus pandemic in Aotearoa/New Zealand the government had focused on getting all 5 million of us to commit to Level 4 lockdown. Read the rest of this entry »

Just got a little more dangerous in New Zealand

In looking past the move to Level 1 response to the novel coronavirus, I was expecting New Zealand to reach the next dangerous moment when incoming international travel resumed, probably from Australia first. Read the rest of this entry »

Tip of an Iceberg

The police announce 300 (odd) violations of Level 4 restrictions on one day this past weekend.  Given the police can’t be everywhere all the time that number is probably just like the tip of an iceberg. Read the rest of this entry »

Workplace Bubble – a new source of ‘clusters’?

Among the thousands of workplaces opening up tomorrow (28/04/2020) there will likely be much variation of physical distancing arrangements, some may have no real plan at all. Read the rest of this entry »

Government and NZ likely not prepared for Level 3

The government’s stretch of level 4 past the holiday weekend is a no-brainer.  Read the rest of this entry »

E-mail to the Prime Minister on lockdown decision

Hello Hon Prime Minister,
Your Covid-19 plan has had one primary shortcoming from the start.  You have not admitted you would not do enough testing to confidently understand the extent of existing “community transmission”.  Please don’t let the temptation to cover this up and try to cut political losses get the best of you and government.  The lockdown has been your first and most important response and has been as successful as could have been expected.   Neither you nor the citizens and businesses of NZ are ready to handle the Level 3 requirements you have specified.


Richard Keller


Is 70 the new 50? Or is 60 the new 80?

Continuing my daily walks after Easter I’ve noticed vehicle traffic picking up around here.  Don’ t know how that relates to lockdown, or shopping.  Read the rest of this entry »

Not enough testing to understand ‘community transmission’

My main criticism of the government’s response to the Covid-19 crisis is that they should have been more transparent from the start about their inadequate testing regime.  They should have said at the start they were not going to do enough testing to know adequately the extent of ‘community transmission’.   It’s important to realize that it is in the medium and long term that expanded, perhaps widespread, lack of faith in the government’s approach may surface because of this.  As we near the end of the first Level 4 period it will be interesting what they will say about expanding testing for community transmission, if anything.

It’s common sense to be universally testing workers in ‘essential activities’.  The obvious ones are those involved with the health system where exposure is more likely, and food store workers where great numbers of individuals will be turning up.  Sure, it’s a lot of work to test everyone of those but a person may have contracted the virus before symptoms occur, and more worrying, some may have contracted the virus and never display symptoms.  Both types being carriers and transmitters, but invisible and silent like in Edgar Allen Poe’s famous short story ‘The Mask of the Red Death’.  There’s too much ‘leakage’ in symptom only testing.  The government needs to explain why they are not doing enough testing (they know they are not doing enough testing). (*Note 1)

At risk of carrying on too long here, I’ll speculate about the usefulness of random country-wide testing, possibly doing a bit more in suspected more-vulnerable areas.  Just finding one person infected (perhaps even without symptoms) in an area would identify where normal multiple transmission expectation could result in exponential spread of the virus.  Without finding that person it might be just as dangerous to be out in that location as the areas identified as hotspots, but not know it.

Currently my thought about dangers to myself is that I’ll not want to go out after the lockdown ends, with return to Level 3 or Level 2, because not enough is known about community transmission.  And in particular going to the supermarket is going to seem the same in terms of danger, looking around the store, without confidence that community transmission is mostly understood (which it isn’t).


  • Note 1 – It isn’t only testing for community transmission where such ‘leakage’ would seem to be expected.  The term ‘self-isolation’ has doubt written all over it.  It’s actually good the few examples (in the hundreds identified by police) there have been in the first two weeks.  But with the end of Level 4 being discussed those numbers may grow over the next two weeks.  ‘Quarantine’ is a much different term and by defining the strict terms of quarantine now, the government is admitting the softness and expected leakage during our time of ‘self-isolation’.   The strictness of quarantine should keep open the discussion about greatly increased community wide testing.   It is interesting that only today (09/04) have they begun to explain the limitations of not doing enough when explaining the change to quarantine.  They should have explained that at the start three or four weeks ago in order to put off possible growth in resistance later.  The same discussion may soon arise over community testing limitations.