Te Tuhi Kelly : ‘We should be planning on going to war against Covid-19’

Thursday September 10, 2020 Written by Te Tuhi Kelly, Progressive Party of the Cook Islands Published in Editorials

OPINION: All it takes is for one person to be infected and we are essentially in a gated-community.

We’ve all heard the push for opening up our borders and we’ve all heard the pros and cons for doing so.

An observation to be made is that frankly we do not have adequate and proper resources, people, processes, equipment and the strategic planning that would assist in opening our borders up to tourism, let alone our own returning Cook Islanders.

In the Government’s defence is that this is unprecedented and has caught global governments on the hop and we too have been caught out and resting on our laurels, muttering we can handle this.

The reality is that we struggle and if the recent debacle regarding a breach of the quarantine protocols put in place is anything to go by then we’ve once again dropped the ball.

The reality is that we should be planning on going to war against an army that is as numerous as the stars in the universe. This army the size of ants is multiplying exponentially.

Once we have that in our minds, how do we keep them away from our borders given we have no vaccines, no defensive army of note, no weapons of mass destruction, no properly trained defenders, fighting an invisible enemy with us as the inadvertent carriers.

We also have a civilian population that is in a holding pattern and trusting that the authorities will keep this marauding army at bay and heaven forbid, protect us in our hour of need.

Reality check folks, it is only a matter of when this army and its innocent trojan horses breach our borders not if.

Danger, Will Robinson! we should be on a war footing not a civilian footing as recent events over the last few months have shown how inadequate we are.

The authorities are woefully unprepared despite all the wishful thinking the “we've got this” covered model.

We are accepting mediocrity for the inadequate decision making that allows a returnee to be in contact with a Covid-free local who was totally unaware and unprepared until 24 hrs had passed.

By that time, he had potentially exposed everyone he came into contact with, who then potentially exposed everyone else they came into contact with. The upshot is that he and his family are now quarantined, but what about the others?

The Ministry of Health planning should have included a mass communication programme in which Vodafone should have been directed in the national interests to make available a mass text message across their mobile network and include emails.

Prominent bill boards set up at the airport and around the island vaka with the message regarding the who, what, why, how and when regarding the returnees and protocols and warnings.

A mass television campaign on vaka and local TV on the hour every hour and news media campaign with the newspapers. Social media including Facebook, WhatsApp, Tik Tok and others to also get the message out. Meetings held in all of the punas to inform the villages.

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