2020 as was often said, was hellish and the worst year for the world since the 2nd World War.

With the approach of the new year, with Covid infection numbers falling everywhere and the announcements of vaccinations, by last November there was a general expectation that 2021 would be a year of recovery. In fact as we know, the virus situation has never been worse.

Europe is now in total lockdown. A new rapid spread virus variety is in full flight and try as we might to prevent it, it will probably hit here bringing further lockdowns in its wake.

My Lisbon-based son boasted a few weeks ago of Portugal being the only European nation not in lockdown, it, like New Zealand, having gone hard into lockdown six months earlier.

No longer though as a week later he and his girl-friend attending a 30 strong party saw everyone present become infected. No great issue for him as he’s fit and healthy but now Portugal’s back into lockdown.

There’s fresh surges everywhere including China and one in five (to date) Britons have now copped it, the vast majority emerging unscathed.

Some other observations.

I never understood the mid-year clamour for mass testing. Germany in particular, set out to test all of its citizens. This led to a sense that a clear test somehow gained immunity. As events transpired the testing achieved nothing for showing one is infection-free today doesn’t prevent you from copping it tomorrow.

Nine months ago on this Blog I down-played the threat to New Zealand and picked 25 deaths, which was one thing I got right.

As it stands, currently with Taiwan we’re the only country where normality has been restored. The odds of that situation remaining, more so with the government’s puzzling decision to tallyho on vaccinations, are not good.

There’s been reports of vaccination adverse after-effects but can we really afford the risk of delaying?

Still, with all of the speculation there’s been one over-riding remarkable success story in dealing with Covid and that is Taiwan.

With a population of 24 million Taiwan’s had 7 deaths. Those are amazing figures.

Not only that but Taiwan achieved this without lockdowns or other economy-smashing restraints as in New Zealand. Instead, life went on exactly as normal, but, with one all-critical qualification. That was compulsory mask wearing.

The Taiwanese were used to this having been through it with SARS and other infections. Given a resurgence in New Zealand let’s have no more lockdowns and instead introduce compulsory mask wearing, as is currently the case in Sydney.

The government should be stockpiling masks now, mindful of the sizeable section of our population incapable of doing anything for themselves without it being in the form of a government handout.


Sir Bob, great post.
But the immediate concern is the outright untruth sprouted by Hipkins last October when he said that we were at the front of the queue when it came to vaccinations.
Absolute bovine manure !
While Israel is tops in vaccinations the UK, US, Canada et al are roaring ahead in protecting their populations .
Ardern now bleats that we must ensure that the vaccines are safe and predicting none will be available until the 4th quarter this year.
If they are good enough for the Queen, Duke, the UK PM and the President elect then they are OK in my book.
Sadly it’s another case of Labour lying about delivery and wishing us to be kept locked up and under control.
Totally despicable !

We need a good vaccination programme starting with border workers and travellers. Unfortunately that requires the Government doing something whereas their expertise is in stopping people doing things and even that failed until they brought in the army.

Given PCR testing is not designed for diagnosis but as a scientific tool to assist diagnosis, push back against COVID hysteria is well overdue. Wrap protection around the elderly and infirm and let the rest of the healthy populace return to productivity.

I suspect the primary reason for the late and/or delayed vaccination is one of simple incompetence. The Health dept civil servants, possibly with the help of the politicos, simply failed to order the vaccine stocks early enough. NZ is simply towards the end of a growing queue.

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