Kia ora, bula vinaka, mālō e lelei, talofa lava… greetings.
As I write this, I am thinking of our friends in Auckland who are currently in COVID lockdown level 3 while the rest of us are back in level 2. As of yet, we don’t know what this will look like in the weeks to come, but I thought I’d take a moment here to address some of the rising tensions the media are reporting on and that some of us have seen snippets of in social media feeds.
The key issue is this—a young person is at the centre of the current COVID-19 community outbreak in Auckland, and everyone has an opinion regarding the actions of this young person after having had a COVID test. It turned out, of course, that the young person in question travelled around the city and visited several highly populated sites. Was the person in the wrong? Yes. Will getting angry help the situation? No.
We can’t change what has happened and we must move forward together, working together. As a country we must learn from this, but we mustn’t get mad. The only way we are going to beat this thing is to foster a sense of trust with each other. Why do I say this? It’s simple. For this young person and their family and friends, the stakes are now a lot higher. The mental health and well-being of this group is now at risk. While what has happened this far in Auckland is a tragedy—and it genuinely is—we must be careful that this story doesn’t have a far more tragic ending.
For those of you reading this who are connected in some way to The Salvation Army, remember our tagline—we are the ‘Army that brings life’. So, in these days, through our words and our actions, let’s not condemn people. Let’s bring life.
As a final thought, if you are someone who is reading this who is struggling with the whole lockdown situation, as I previously mentioned in my other articles, the Mental Health Foundation, in their ‘Top Tips to Get Through’ article, suggest the following things to help you if you struggle with anxiety and/or stress from lockdown. Firstly, find ways to connect with others each day. Connecting with others is so important for our wellbeing and helps us to feel safer, less stressed and less anxious. So have video catch-ups with mates, play games and take advantage of the internet to connect with others. If you see people physically, remember to apply the relevant social distancing rules that apply to each of the various levels, and make sure that you get some exercise.
Keep an eye on each other and keep safe.