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‘We all have a part to play,’ says PM

Tuesday 22 February 2022 | Written by Supplied | Published in On the Street, Opinion


‘We all have a part to play,’ says PM

It is clear – the protocols we have in place are working, the vaccine is doing its job and the faith we have put both in our own processes and also our Christian faith has been well-founded, writes Prime Minister Mark Brown.

Kia Orana,

After two years as the Covid-free Cook Islands, we have now spent just over a week with the Covid-19 virus inside our borders.

I know there are some who view this as a failure of Government, who question the wisdom of opening our borders last month, and who believe that we should have continued to keep ourselves closed off and Covid-19 at bay, no matter the cost.

The truth is that to continue as we have done for the past two years was no longer a viable possibility – not just from an economic standpoint, but also from a social and community perspective as well.

We now live on a planet that is covered with Covid. We could continue to close ourselves off from the world, but then we would start to see more of our people leave, businesses would collapse, and the standard of our living would decline to the extent that if we did not act, we could see ourselves regressing back to subsistence-style living. None of us want that.

Covid-19 is now a fact of life for the whole world and we must all accept that our only choice is to live with this virus, to manage and control it as best we can, while still maintaining the quality of life that we have all come to enjoy.

It was inevitable that Covid would come to our country, but when it did – it would be on our terms. Only when we were prepared for it, and only when we had built up our defences so that we were at our strongest as a people to face it.

And so, we planned, and we prepared, and we made ourselves ready.

With all necessary precautions and vaccinations in place we opened our borders, once again welcoming not just tourists but family members from New Zealand, all of whom have this past month been helping to stimulate and restart our economy, rekindling a fresh spark in our daily lives.

Yes, Covid-19 has arrived, but we expected it and thanks to our incredibly successful vaccination programme we are protected from the worst of this virus’s effects.

Of the four cases we have recorded at time of writing, all of whom were fully vaccinated, none have required hospital treatment of any kind, three are totally asymptomatic and one has already begun to recover from what were only quite mild symptoms in the first place.

In addition to these four cases we have also identified 60 close contacts – all are fully vaccinated, all are asymptomatic and all have tested negative for Covid-19 so far.

To me this is not a cause for worry or fear – it is instead a vindication of all of our careful planning, our preparations, our precautions.

It is clear – the protocols we have in place are working, the vaccine is doing its job and the faith we have put both in our own processes and also our Christian faith has been well-founded.

Right now, our Covid-19 testing regime and vaccination programme continues, further expanding and strengthening the protection we already have in place. We will not falter in this, or let down our guard.

I should add here that everyone involved in our government response to Covid-19 has been doing an excellent job – officials, staff, volunteers, everyone – and on behalf of the nation I would like to offer you all our sincere thanks.

At the same time I know there will be those of you who have family or close friends among those in isolation or quarantine and while it is understandable to be concerned or worried about them, please know that we are doing our best to look after them and ensure they stay safe and well.

Having to undergo isolation or quarantine is obviously not an ideal situation for those involved, but these measures are necessary to protect our wider population and the more vulnerable among us.

And while those in isolation and quarantine are playing their part, it is important for the rest of us to remember that we all have a part to play in the fight against Covid-19 – so mask up, tag in, social distance where you can and keep up those good hygiene habits.

Stay positive, be negative, and God bless.

Kia Manuia.