New Zealand, which just locked down its largest city over four COVID-19 cases, has now opened the door to the possibility of delaying its upcoming election, ABC News reported.
After 102 days with no new cases of the novel coronavirus, four cases within a family were discovered in the city of Auckland. The cases triggered a Phase 3 lockdown. People are forced to stay home from work and school, and gatherings of greater than 10 are prohibited again. Also, the entire country entered a Phase 2 lockdown that includes social distancing and bans on gatherings larger than 100.
Now, with four more probable COVID-19 cases linked to the initial cluster of four, officials are fearful that there is new community spread of the virus, and Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is open to the idea of delaying the election, which is scheduled for September.
ABC News reported:
Ms Ardern hinted the country's general election may be postponed in the wake of the latest coronavirus cluster.
She delayed a key step toward next month's poll on Wednesday, as the country was plunged back into lockdown after the discovery of the first COVID-19 cases in more than three months.
Ms Ardern announced she would suspend the dissolution of Parliament — which would clear the way for an election on September 19 — until next Monday.
She said no decision had yet been made on delaying the actual poll, but that she had sought advice about whether it was a viable option.
Even the consideration of moving a national election because of four confirmed cases and four probable cases of COVID-19 is an example of how public health policy built around eradicating the virus can be crippling to a society. Nations around the world implemented varying levels of lockdowns in response to COVID-19, but the lockdowns appear to only delay the spread of the virus, resulting in spikes in cases when people without immunity go back out in public in large numbers.
The issue of how to vote with COVID-19 still spreading has become a fierce debate in the United States, with many Democrats in some states favoring universal mail-in voting and President Donald Trump repeatedly asserting that universal mail-in voting will result in widespread fraud that will hurt Republicans.
President Trump has sued the state of Nevada over its implementation of universal mail-in voting.