Here we are again | Level 4 nationwide lockdown for New Zealand

On Tuesday night New Zealander’s got the news of one person in the Auckland community having tested positive for Covid-19 and that the entire population of New Zealand would got into a Level 4 lockdown at midnight. This was the first case in the community since February. With the more contagious Delta variant, recent outbreak in New South Wales and closure of the trans-Tasman bubble, most New Zealander’s knew it was only a matter of time before we had a break through case into the community.

Staff at the MIQ facilities work so hard to keep the virus out, accommodating people flying into the country for 14 days of quarantine. Staff are vaccinated, but of course this doesn’t stop them catching Delta and potentially passing it onto someone in the community. Staff are regularly tested, but this isn’t full proof and from time to time cases break into the community. All the recent cases of Covid in MIQ have been the more infections Delta strain.

New Zealand is rapidly rolling out vaccinations, now that supply for all the population has arrived in the country. From 1 September anyone over the age of 12 is eligible to book their vaccine. The rollout is going smoothly and according to plan, but with only a fifth of the total population fully vaccinated any community outbreak of the Delta variant was going to be met with a swift, full lockdown.

So, here we are, on day 3 of the level 4 lockdown and case numbers rapidly rising (31 at time of writing, 3 now in Wellington). To fully lockdown at midnight on Tuesday, due to only one community case, might appear crazy to the rest of the world, but New Zealander’s understand the reasoning. We need to protect the vulnerable and our hospitals couldn’t cope with a large outbreak of covid-19 in the community.

Sunset on day 2 of L4 lockdown, on the south coast of Wellington.

So, what does ‘Level 4’ mean in New Zealand? Here’s a brief summary:

Everyone must now stay home in their bubble.

You can only leave home for essential personal movement, like to:

  • shop for groceries
  • access necessary healthcare
  • get a COVID-19 test or vaccination
  • exercise in your local area
  • go to work if you are an Alert Level 4 worker and you cannot work from home.

Only make physical contact with those in your household bubble.

If you live alone, you may arrange with another person living alone or a household to be part of your household bubble. This arrangement must be exclusive between you and the other household.

When we got the news of the lockdown I was in Wellington, with my 18 and 15 year old. My husband and 11 year old were literally snowed in, 1,700 metres above sea level, at the Tukino Alpine Village, on Mt Ruapehu!

Snowed in at Tukino Alpine Village!

They had gone up there on Monday, for a home-education ski trip, planning to stay till Thursday. Under the conditions of a move to level 4 people are given 48 hours to get back to their home, where they will then remain for the duration of the lockdown. There was a slight break in the weather midday on Wednesday, which gave them a chance to dig out their vehicles from the heavy snow and carefully make their way down the mountain road, following a tractor!

After digging out the car, the tyres were still frozen to the ground, so a tractor was needed!

Driving down the mountain!

They made it home Wednesday evening, having not had a chance to ski or snow-board, but had enjoyed the adventure and company of friends all the same!

We are now all together in our bubble. I suspect this lockdown will continue for a few weeks, with the next update to any change in levels on Tuesday 24 August. I’m glad our local neighbourhood has some beautiful scenery for our daily walks.

Angel wing clouds on the south coast of Wellington. Day 2 of second L4 nationwide lockdown.

In the meantime, hubby is busy on Zoom calls working away, oldest daughter is using the extra time to do some sewing projects and complete her applications for University entrance in 2022 (she’s currently in a gap year, working a couple of jobs and getting involved in local theatre productions – of course all that’s on hold whilst in lockdown, but at least she still gets paid wages for jobs she can’t do!) and our 15 year old was preparing for her mock exams for NCEA L1 next week, now on hold. Youngest daughter is home-educated – so she’s spending hours doing all her usual passion projects (mostly lots of digital art and playing Minecraft with friends, with a bit of maths thrown in!). She’s really sociable and misses seeing her friends when we’re in lockdown. She’s usually out every day at various meet-ups around the city. At least she can chat and play with friends via her laptop – but it’s not the same as seeing them in person.

As for me, I’m just trying to keep everything balanced (including my own emotional state!). I’m over worrying about everyone and fussing too much. I’m trying to make sure I do exercise every day, read something and paint something. I’m very thankful for my online ‘Run club’ workouts and my local yoga studio putting on free classes online.

Day 3 of lockdown, painting one of the birds that frequents the south coast of Wellington.

Loved reading Merlin Sheldrake’s book ‘Entangled Life’. I took this photograph the other day, loving the dappled light casting shadows over the page of my nature journal.

Here’s hoping New Zealand can pull together like we did early last year and get a lid on this Delta variant before it can spread too far within our community. If everyone stays put, we’ll be okay! I’m just so grateful to have a beautiful neighbourhood to enjoy whilst in this lockdown. Take care everyone x

Houghton Bay, Wellington, New Zealand

Timeline and history of Covid-19 pandemic in New Zealand, including when we’ve locked down, where and at what levels.

Covid-19: Current cases in New Zealand

Covid-19 vaccines in New Zealand