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Online Influencer, Billy Te Kahika, claimed a lockdown is due to befall on January 15; however, that is not entirely correct.
In a live stream on Tuesday evening, Mr Kahika said Newshub published an article indicating a lockdown was ‘planned' — the article title relates to the topic's popularity that lockdowns will be happening.
Comments online from many accounts since the beginning of January claim there is a planned lockdown due to the nature of Mr Kahika's promotion on live streams that he has intel from many in the Ministry of Health and other organisations at a Government level.
Mr Kahika went to the extent to say the Ministry of Health sent out a press release indicating there was a planned lockdown. thisquality can confirm that there has been no press release indicating there will be one.
The Ministry of Health said to thisquality that they expect a large increase in historical cases arriving in New Zealand from around the world, not a lockdown.
“Further work to identify and better understand these variants is ongoing in New Zealand and internationally,” the Ministry said.
On Sunday, whole-genome sequencing identified a total of 19 cases of COVID-19 at the border with the United Kingdom (UK) Variant known as B.1.1.7. One case was detected with the South Africa Variant identified as B.1.351 in New Zealand, since December 13 of 2020.
Because of the Variant, it is expected that more cases will be arriving infected due to the higher transmission rate compared to the original Variant of COVID-19 (Coronavirus).
“The recent increase in COVID-19 cases at New Zealand’s borders is expected, given case numbers continue to increase globally,” the Ministry said.
“We are also expecting to see more historical cases being detected in managed isolation due to an increasing number of people becoming infected and recovering before travelling to New Zealand.”
“While these individuals may still have residual viral particles in their nasopharynx, which are picked up by our tests, they are no longer [19 cases] considered to be infectious.”
Mainstream media have jumped on the bandwagon following the fear that inviting ‘experts' to talk about predicted modelling suggests that an Alert Level 4 Lockdown would be appropriate due to the nature of the UK Variant's increased transmission rates.
When media interview experts, they are paid for, this means when a topic rises in fame or popularity online like Mr Kahika's live streams which amass roughly 5,000–10,000 viewers it brings in clicks and that means extra money and income for yearly quarters.
The COVID-19 modellers predict and assume that Level 4 is the best option; however, it is just speculation that generates clicks from the fear. It also means media companies can profit from talking to experts over model predictions of potential outbreaks.
thisquality can assure our readers that the Ministry of Health has no sudden intentions to introduce any lockdown, unless as experts say on mainstream media, that the virus enters the community which is highly unlikely to happen under the strict conditions and security securing managed isolation facilities around the country.
“Since 1 January 2021 people arriving from the US and UK are tested on arrival and required to stay in their room until they return a negative test result. In addition, pre-departure testing will start to come into effect later this week (11.59 pm NZT on 15 January 2021) with the aim of reducing the number of cases of COVID-19 arriving in New Zealand,” the Ministry said.
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