May 24, 2020

Level 2 - Life in New Zealand

Dawn walk during Lockdown 
Lockdown is over and New Zealand is currently in Level 2 ... ( We came out of a month at Level 4, with very limited bubbles, down to Level 3 for two weeks, then cautiously started to venture out again last Monday.  Now the government is waiting to see if there will be a new influx of cases.  We may remain at this level until we achieve a month of no new cases - but so far all cases are able to be tracked back to a known cluster of existing cases and community transmission does not seem to be occurring.

As at 9.00 am, 23 May 2020
Total       Change in last 24 hours
Number of confirmed cases in New Zealand1,1540
Number of probable cases3500
Number of confirmed and probable cases1,5040
Number of recovered cases1,4550
Number of deaths210
Number of active cases280
Number of cases currently in hospital10
We are all grateful for the steady leadership updates of our government, the daily 1pm media updates from Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and MOH Ashley Bloomfield, and the input from microbiologist, Dr. Siouxsie Wiles.  Particularly for her collaboration with Tony Morris that resulted in a series of easy to understand graphics that helped the country accept the reasons for the lockdown and what to do - you can see them all here.

Liam has returned to New Zealand from England via Doha and Sydney this weekend - he is now in compulsory quarantine in Auckland for two weeks - working at his job from an assigned hotel.  Can't wait to see him :)
Alex will be down here next weekend and will be with  Liam in Auckland the weekend his quarantine finishes.   At least we can celebrate the long Queens Birthday weekend as a nearly complete family after weeks of social distancing, even if we still have to facetime Liam.

Because I was able to arrange deliveries or click and collect, and took supplies over to Mum each week, I haven't visited a supermarket for months. It felt weird to go into The Warehouse last week, and Mum and I actually went to a coffee shop.  Two wonderful catch-ups with friends in private homes and today in a spaced outdoor pub area. We have plans to do dinner and our regular quiz night this week.   Overall we have gone from FOMO to FOGO - so entering public restaurants is a big step.  We are still limited to groups of 10, not hugging, but definitely relishing the social contact.   To be fair, we had regular online wine parties twice a week throughout the lockdown so we were not starved of conversation, but virtual will never completely replace being there.

I am still working from home -with my faithful companion. Critical practical classes restart next week for some students under strict rules, but my zoom classes continue.  Work is now mainly regular class sessions, marking assignments and worksheets, writing exams to be open-book online versions, answering the many questions that arrive, and working out how to timetable next semester in a flexible, manageable way with this new way of working..... our main concern has been the lack of the usual work placement - there has been none possible for weeks and it will be hard for students to do in the future.  Internationally this is an issue for all students that need practical skills training - and in our case, I know how challenging the last few weeks have been for veterinary clinics dealing safely and legally with clients and patients.   Taking students is just not possible - but if we can reduce class time and increase options into our sim clinic area, we can do a lot internally.

For now, New Zealand will remain closed to tourists - and only returning Kiwis are coming in via quarantine.  Although daily life may return to normal, the financial impact will be a major issue - as it will be for every country.  I hope it might be possible for a managed two-week quarantine option to continue and let overseas people come here to travel, film, study for months/years - and maybe options for travel between Pacific Islands and Australia... but meanwhile, we hope many Kiwis will explore NZ.   I have my flights booked for Nelson in July :)

It has been hectic changing everything to online delivery, sometimes boring, sometimes frustrating - but we see the headlines from overseas and know that lockdown has been the right thing to do.  Poppy has loved the attention of having three people working from home.  Our daily red zone and river walks let me appreciate the changing colours of Autumn.  Definitely been a great source of soul food....

Wishing you all the best - stay safe.


  1. Oh my, Fiona, these photos are breathtakingly beautiful - especially the last two look like paintings!
    NZ has been doing so well, a prove of how good leadership makes the biggest difference.
    You are coping admirably with the challenges of work and changes in daily life. I am not surprised that your four-legged family member is happy to have everybody home almost all the time.

  2. Firstly, I agree with Meike that the last two photos look like paintings and are breathtaking.

    Secondly, Jacinda is lauded in the UK as a role model leader. Who knows how she would have coped in, say, the USA but if the leaders of most of the world's other countries had displayed her calmness and stateship (newly coined word!) many of us would have been in a much better situation that we are.

    Personally, I've only been out of the property apart from walking and walks up to the post box in the township and a couple of medical trips to town, and can honestly I have been able to keep in touch with everyone via virtual coffee chats etc and have actually thoroughly enjoyed the freedom to do my garden and attend to so many things I would not otherwise have made the time to do.

    Kia kaha, kia maia, kia manawanui .

  3. Thank you Mieke and Graham - I feel very lucky to be able to enjoy the changing faces of the river and get these photos - one bonus of Poppy is she gets me out and about at different times and weathers - and a paranoia of avoiding people and other made dawn the most peaceful choice for a while... but I do enjoy all your walks and explorations in Germany Mieke.
    thank you so much for your lovely snail mail letter too GB - it arrived this week and is much appreciated. I’m glad you have been well occupied in your isolation - sometimes we have to stop the “busyness” to appreciate the time to take pleasure in other things. It appears baking has been the main activity for many - and of course gardening. Take care both of you.


Comments welcome....always love to hear what you think!


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