Plague Diary Season 3 Week 19

Day 14+7+86+20, December 22. 56 Delta cases in Auckland, Waikato, Bay of Plenty, Taranaki, Lakes, and Hutt Valley, near Wellington, linked to the Lakes case. Not even Nelson paper mentions Nelson's Covid these days so the "latest" numbers stay at 0 new/23 from this outbreak/15 active/8 recovered/0 in hospital. None in the rest of the South Island. Omicron: 6 new, total 28, one released. 76% of population and 91% over 12 double-jabbed. 

I'm going to take a break from Covid news tonight because, goodness, there is a lot. Except to tell you, in case you were worried, the twice-negative-tested person with a child voluntarily returned to the Managed Isolation facility. Both parent and child were tested upon return. And did you see? Sweden has microchips that can be embedded under human skin to be used as vax passes.
Today I made cookie cutter cookies for the first time in... 45 years. And I remembered I was always bad at this. On top of that, today was another super hot day, and I didn't get started early enough; and on top of that, the counter where I cut the cookies is right next to oven. And my red silicone baking sheets are so warped, they are not suitable for these guys. But these taste great, so that's a relief. It has lime peels in it, and smells dreamy, but if I were to make these again, I'll chop the peels smaller. 
The plan was to make icing with either lime juice or diluted orange flower water, but I don't know, are these guys worth icing? They are also rather sweet without the icing. And I don't remember these being so time-consuming.  
Day 14+7+86+21 December 23. 56 in Auckland, Waikato, Bay of Plenty, Lakes, Taranaki, and Tairawhiti. Nelson and the rest of the South Island: nada. Omicron cases, all at the border, 3; total 31, one case released. 76% of population and 91% over 12 double-jabbed.
Nelson Marlborough District Health Board recommends we keep a Covid kit of food and hygiene products at home, or while travelling, so there is no panic in case we need testing. (After testing we are prohibited from leaving home or accommodation until we get results.) The kit suggestion includes lemons - no explanation. :-D Although Bloomfield repeats often that testing is free, apparently this is not always true; e.g. an asymptomatic close contact may be required to pay $140, but may be refunded if the result is positive. I think the message is, ring the 0800 number first and see if they tell you to get tested.      
Today was so, so hot and sunny, but we went into town because Ben was expecting a bill in the PO Box, and as long as he was going, I wanted to pick up a few things so I can finish some project, as well as a few exotic ingredients in case we get inspired to cook something a little out of the ordinary. 
There is a good reason we usually stay home between, oh, the 20th and Christmas Eve. We have been known to loiter late on Christmas Eve in supermarkets, but days leading up to Christmas, no! The road and parking lots are busy, people are in a hurry, and, well, you get the picture. We made it to the craft store, the PO Box, two specialist food stores, two supermarkets, and the petrol station, but we skipped the rest. 
For a few years, I've given plants I propagated to close friends, and delivering them on Christmas Eve became Ben and my ritual. Some years I decorated the pots, other years I did something or rather with cards or ribbons. Usually, it didn't involve any elaborate plans. 
This year, Option One barely survived; Option Two didn't look as good as I expected, and Option Three finally started to grow in the last few days, but are still a little too little. I was in mini panic this afternoon, but hey, it's been an unusual year, so why not prepare something nice and deliver them whenever the plants are ready, right? 
And remember the tiny chocolates I was going to give the milkie and courier folks? I didn't get my act together there, either, so the chocs are still sitting in the living room. Well, I'll make up to them in good time, also. 

Tomorrow, there is a bit of cooking to do. I'd better get up early so I can use the oven before it gets too hot.
Day 14+7+86+22, December 24. 62 in Auckland, Waikato, Bay of Plenty, Rotorua, and one case in Christchurch, someone who travelled from Auckland on Monday. Nelson Mail hasn't had a Covid numbers article in several days, but Ben says the Ministry website says we have nine active cases. One death in hospital in Auckland; 50th in Aotearoa NZ. New Omicron cases, 7; total 38 cases. (Did this jump while I looked away for a couple of days?) 77% of population and 91% over 12 double-jabbed.
A screening of the new Spider Man film in Rotorua is among the new locations of interest. An unvaxed Belfast doctor practicing near Rotorua had a shipment of Ivermectin for his patients confiscated by Medsafe, our medical regulatory body. Sadly, his was among 905 referred to Medsafe this year, compared to 13 last year.
If tonight is a special night for you and yours, I wish you a peaceful night. If it's another Friday, have a relaxing weekend. 
Day 14+7+86+23, December 25. There were no updates from the government today, and no reading. We spent a lovely afternoon/evening with friends including some young folks. I didn't take any pictures; I was too busy talking and listening and eating. And taking a tour on a properly loved Kiwi garden with so much veg and fruit trees. Oh, my, the fruit trees! 
This is ours, though. We tasted one this morning, just a little too early.
Day 14+7+86+24, December 26. Today's numbers are for the last two days. 126 in Auckland, Waikato, Bay of Plenty, Taranaki, Waikato, Northland. None in Nelson or the rest of the South Island. New Omicron cases 7 new, 45 total, one case released. 77% of population and 91% over 12 double-jabbed. And of course there is very little press activity. 
Yesterday I thought friends had a new outdoor table, but in fact Mother and Son had given it a good spa treatment. So today Ben got working on his outdoor coffee bean roasting table/courier pickup/drop off point. After reading the fine print, it transpired he has to leave it for a fortnight after applying this agent, but weather being dry and slightly windy, we might cheat and oil after a week's wait.
Day 14+7+86+25 December 27. 34 in Auckland, Waikato, Bay of Plenty, Lakes, and Canterbury, South Island, linked to a previous case. None in Nelson. No surprises in wastewater anywhere. Omicron cases, all at the border, 4 new; 49 total identified; one case released. (I bet there are more by now.) 77% of population and 91% over 12 double-jabbed.
Ben started working on the table early, and told me it's hot and humid, with only the occasional cool breeze. He didn't think I'd last long outside, (I was planning to move bulbs out of clay pots and herbs growing in ice cream containers in them,) and suggested I weave. With Christmas finished, we're practically in January, and I'm falling way behind in the project if I am to weave what I had in mind in November, a project that takes nearly a week just to thread. 
I cut off another sample yesterday and washed, but I'm still not happy with the sett, so I chastely rethreaded this afternoon. Tonight, though, as I checked the math, it needs rethreading, again. The project is, what's that expression, loosing its shine, so I'm in head-down-bum-up mode, and much remains undecided.
Day 14+7+86+26, December 28. 18 in Auckland, Waikato, Bay of Plenty, Rotorua; 0 in Nelson or the rest of the South Island, but a new location of interest in Canterbury. One death in hospital. The low case numbers do not necessarily reflect few cases, but fewer people getting tested, and fewer test centers remaining open this time of year. There are 1334 active Delta cases. Omicron cases, all at the border, 5 new, 54 in all, one case announced released. 77% of population and 91% over 12 double-jabbed. 

It was the same last year. I didn't have a problem knowing the days of the week even though Ben was home every day, thanks to our home milk delivery. It's the years I'm confused about. I remember having to rush home to Japan for the month of August 2019 to clean out Mom's apartment after she suddenly went into care. And looking back, what good timing for her to move, because not six months later, Diamond Princess full of Covid cases arrived at the port of Yokohama, my home town.

In Aotearoa NZ, we went into Level 4 lockdown the first time on March 26, 2020, and came out to Level 1 on June 9, 2020, which allowed us to get back to near-Pre-Covid normal within the nation's borders. For those of us outside Auckland and Wellington, this continued until August 18, 2021 when we went into two weeks of Level 4, a week of Level 3, interminable Level 2, and now this traffic light system akin to Level 1.5 with whatever rules you like, up to you. 

Late last year, I couldn't remember much about the year 2020, as if the whole year was washed out, but 2019 clearly. These last few weeks I kept thinking we're at the end of 2022; 2019 and 2020 are all mixed up, and 2021 has been erased from my consciousness. Confused? So am I. 

We had rain today, bringing lovely cool air; I read most of the day.


Plague Diary Season 3 Week 18

Day 14+7+86+13, December 15. 74 in Auckland, Waikato, Bay of Plenty, Rotorua, and one in Canterbury. Nelson: 0 new/23 from this outbreak/15 active/8 recovered/0 in hospital. One death in Tauranga. A Taranaki town has an outbreak in a primary school, so unvaxed and non-scanning littlies. I'm not the praying type, but I hope they don't have to isolate during the holidays. Aucklanders are free to travel either with a vax pass or negative test 72 hours prior to being checked; on the road, though, checking is random, depending on the traffic, etc. 75% of population and 89% over 12 double-jabbed.  
Parliament broke for the summer; daily reporting from the Ministry will change a little; there will be no numbers published on December 25, January 1 and 8, but otherwise check their website, or... Twitter. Again, I worry about oldies without access or knowledge, not so much because oldies are necessarily tech-ignorant, but because I've got one foot in that group now.

While Nelson-Marlborough health district, (which includes Tasman,) is 1905 shots shy of 90% of over 12 being double-jabbed, a testing center in Richmond was closed due to abuse staff suffered from anti peeps, as the threats became increasing personal. I'll just leave it at that. 
The second care package awaiting us at the PO Box on Monday was loot from my sister's short trip to Kyoto. Well-deserved after taking a break from volunteering at a vax center. She was always the one who did things, as opposed to Dad, Mom, Bro and I shouting and criticizing since the ye olde pre-keybord era. No wonder she thought - wished? - she was adopted, except for her resemblance to Dad's side. 
There were more in the pack, but she noted these masks are just for show and not to wear in crowded places. Having had long discussions on mask types and prices just recently, I told her we'll wear them on top of proper ones, which defeats the purpose of Japanese gauze masks which are soft and lovely on the face, but needs must. 
Later, I asked a young checkout guy at the supermarket, if we forget masks, could we buy them at the entrance of the store, not boxes in the aisles but just to wear in the store, and he said they are 50c each at Customer Service. Then he told me they used to hand them out free of charge, but staff noticed customers "collecting" them, including to wear in the bar across the street. He saw a guy come in,  ask for one, swore when told there is a cost, walk out, get out his own from his car, and proceed to the bar.
Day 14+7+86+14, December 16. Newsy day. 91 new cases in the last 15 hours due to changes in reporting time frame; Northland, Auckland, Waikato, Bay of Plenty, Taupo/Lakes, Taranaki. Nelson: 0 new/23 from this outbreak/15 active/8 recovered/0 in hospital. Nobody else seems bothered any more that we still don't know how it reached Nelson. 
None in the rest of the South Island, but a border case from Germany via Dubai quarantining in Christchurch became our first Omicron case. This person arrived on Deceber 10, was tested on Day 1, and result came out on Day2, December 12. They were double-jabbed. Bloomfield says our quarantine system is well-set up to prevent spreading Omicron, and folks are not to come out of their rooms until Day 1 test results were known, but these folk were crammed in an airplane for, what, half a day? He must not read the articles I do, where in Europe 80% and 90% of folks in small and large gatherings are getting Omicron, albeit with less severe symptoms... Gisbourne, meanwhile, is still producing positive wastewater test results. We've now had 10,054 cases in this community Delta outbreak. 

Nelson is among five locations in the country where a fancy new "PCR analyser called Panther Fusion" has been installed. This cuts testing time to 24-48 hours, and smaller centers like we don't have to send specimens away when testing gets busy, not only for Covid, but flu, respiratory syncytial virus, and some STD. Good news ahead of influx of summer tourist, says the Panther project manager. :-D (I changed the order of the sentences in the article, because if you don't laugh...)
76% of population and 90% over 12 double-jabbed. Yay, 90%! But Nelson/Marlborough/Tasman is still at 88.6-88.8% depending on the website, or 1527 shots shy, between 9th and 11th place of the 20 District Health Boards. Vax for 5-11-year olds were provisionally approved; 2 doses, 21 days apart. Cabinet must approve next, so roll out will start late January 2022, just before the school year starts. 

Although Parliament finished for the year yesterday, there was another anti protest in Wellington, organized by the usual cohorts, disrupting bus schedules. 

Today I finished culling/tidying/reorganizing my art supplies, something I put off for a couple of years. The main aim was to free up more space for weaving. I used to keep art supplies in half a dozen cardboard boxes by category: acrylic, watercolor/gouache, print-making, dry drawing material, etc. When I worked, usually in the kitchen, I only needed to bring one box and maybe just a few other supplies. I wanted to put everything in one biggish plastic box, which is a physical impossibility, and in the end I managed to get rid of just one box but in a somewhat less organized way. It felt like tidying for the sake of tidying, so unsatisfying...
Still, it was worth sorting all the papers, (plenty for watercolor/gouache, in different weight and sizes;) getting rid of a whole host of stale collage material, and going through a box of "Not sure how to proceed" projects. 
Above is a small book I started in an Seth Apter workshop in Australia in 2014. It's about my Dad, and on the cover is the main office building of the university where he taught, and somewhere on the second floor is the window of his vice chancellor office, his last job before retirement. At the workshop I thought it was small enough project I could finish quickly, I could not only 15 months after he died. The pages are covered in sticky acrylic in spite of leaving it dry all that winter, but I might work on it this summer.
Day 14+7+86+15, December 17. 76 community cases in Auckland, Waikato, Bay of Plenty, Rotorua, Taranaki. Nelson: 0 new/23 from this outbreak/15 active/8 recovered/0 in hospital; 0 in the rest of the South Island. 76% of population and 90% over 12 double-jabbed. Nelson/Marlborough/Tasman is 1183 doses away from 90% qualifieds double-jab. 
In the last couple of days the number of Covid-related articles increased dramatically. I wonder if it has to do with the press getting a few final pieces out before closing down for the year. I've managed to read about a quarter of today's pieces, and haven't even started on Omicron coverage, but then hoping some issues will resolve/progress in the next couple of days, here are the first few that caught my blurry eye.
We have now have had 10,129 cases in the Delta community outbreak; 12,947 (community?) cases since the start of the pandemic; and 49 deaths. A boy under age 10 died in hospital (today?), and tested positive after death; it is not clear if he died of Covid, or for another reason, or was infected after death, but he was a contact of a known case and our youngest loss. Gisbourne wastewater tested negative after six positive results, but neighbouring Napier tested positive, possibly relating to a historic case. There were verbal confrontations at Wellington Airport between unmasked would-be passengers dressed as nuns and priests, (at least a couple with exemptions,) and masked, dressed-as-themselves passengers. Jetstar staff said it's a police matter, while police called to the scene said, "What can we do?" Jetstar also only spotchecks for vax passes. And in AotearoaNZ, there is still no discussion of ventilation.

Today Ben finished work for the year. He went into the office for the first time in 17 and a half weeks; put in a couple of hours from his desk; said hi to everybody; and good-bye to a colleague who resigned. Short of drastic changes/events, (still possible,) he'll resume working at work in the new year. And his work place will require all staff and students get vaxed, like most tertiary institutions in the country. 
Meanwhile I ran errands for a couple of hours. Now, my understanding of Code Orange was, shops/businesses, (other than pharmacies and supermarkets,) required a vax pass. I was shocked, but not shocked, having to show my pass at only one of the four places I visited. Slack staff mask-wearing practices was also worrying, and I still blame the government's wishy-washy "kind" non-commitment; at this point, there should be no doubt we're better off with than without them. In contrast, supermarkets are old hands at this by now, down to the trainee check-out teenager at the far left lane. They are now the safe, comforting retail oasis. (In reviewing the quick color code reference, I see I'm confusing the masks and vax passes. It's too fiddly to list here, but I see the government still likes to "encourage" mask use in some places.)    

Every year, we give our milkie a small gift, usually an inexpensive assorted choc box from the supermarket. They are not bad stuff, though; we buy the same for ourselves. This year, Ben thought we could put in a little more work, so we got the mini version of some of our favorites, and we'll mix and match and put them in a handmade bag or box with a message of thanks. I want to make a few packs for our courier delivery folks, too, even though sometimes they some can't be bothered driving down our windy driveway. 
I like this season of being thankful. I know handmade whatever pleases some, puzzles others, but making is for the gratification of the maker; what follows is extra.   
Day 14+7+86+16, December 18. 39 in Auckland, Bay of Plenty, Taupo/Lakes, Taranaki. Nelson stays at 0 new/23 from this outbreak/15 active/8 recovered/0 in hospital. Counted as border cases are four new cases of Omicron in addition to the first on Thursday and three I didn't mention yesterday; total is now eight, but only two are linked; they were from Europe, Africa, and Asia. 76% of population and 90% over 12 double-jabbed.    
I don't understand when the ministry says, "today's case numbers do not cover a full 24 hour period due to the change in reporting times to a midnight-to-midnight cycle from 9am-to-9aml" wasn't the switch take place midweek? The ministry's website I mentioned Wednesday has not been updated since Thursday. Otherwise today was a slow reporting day, giving me a chance to catch up. 

In Aotearoa NZ, up-your-nose PCR tests has been the only commonly used testing method. Though saliva testing has been in use in very limited number of places, it was not available to the wider public. BUT now they say we can get it for $115 a pop at some pharmacies if we really want one. AND the first NZ study found them 99.1% accurate. 
Lateral Flow Tests the UK government distributed free of charge, (until they ran out recently?) may be what is called the Rapid Antigen Tests here. Though they are not available to the general public as far as I've read, free testing has been conditionally available since December 15 until January 31 for the not-fully-vaccinated and under 12s to submit for travel purposes. With the new normal of living with Covid the world over, let's hope these will be widely available free or at low cost around the world. And hey, let the ready facilities in poorer places make their own vaccines already!! 

It's almost 8:30PM but I'm nearly caught up on the Covid reading for today. And that's great because all this month I've been reading printed books before I go to sleep, until the arrival of Omicron. Tonight I might finish one. 
I had an idea midweek and was going to have a little fun in the kitchen, but that'll have to wait until tomorrow.   
Day 14+7+86+17, December 19. 55 in Auckland, Waikato, Bay of Plenty, Taranaki. Nelson: 0 new/23 from this outbreak/15 active/8 recovered/0 in hospital; 0 in the rest of the South Island. Five new Omicron at managed isolation, total 13, but one has recovered and been released. 76% of population and 90% over 12 double-jabbed. 
It's been so hot today, I might see if there are Covid articles later, or not. Ben made another never-to-be-repeated cheesecake, coffee this time, and we had a lovely afternoon with friends. Among other things we compared notes about our aging parents. As we near old age ourselves, the best I can aim is not to complain (too much) and be grateful for everything I have/had in life; I better start training today, as it's not exactly my natural disposition.  

Pohutukawa, New Zealand Christmas Tree, is flowering late this year in Nelson, which is great because often they are in full bloom at the start of December. This is the view from our living room window, and why don't need a tree inside. It's actually one tree - the front part Ben managed to trim standing on the stairs outside the window in April last year; the tall part he couldn't reach. The photo is unedited. We are going to get professional tree guys to trim it nicely. Eventually. 
Day 14+7+86+18, December 20. 69 in Auckland, Waikato, Bay of Plenty, Taranaki. Nelson: 0 new/23 from this outbreak/15 active/8 recovered/0 in hospital; 0 in the rest of the South Island. New Omicron cases 9, total 22, one case released. 76% of population and 90% over 12 double-jabbed. As of midnight last night, Nelson-Marlborugh-Tasman had 550 doses to reach 90%.

A person who tested positive twice, (unspecified if Delta/Omicron,) [EDIT: my mistake, they tested negative twice,] and transferred from Managed Isolation to hospital "left" and is missing in Auckland. No more detail. I'm shocked the media is not all over this, but there is an (insert-adjective) reduction in Covid news coverage since the weekend.
We had another hot day, and all I did was read and doze off in different parts of the house as I looked for cooler spots every couple of hours. And a big thank you, Esther, we looked forward to and speculated what we'll be getting this year, but you have exceeded all our expectations. Meals will be served on these for the foreseeable future unless we cook something too runny.
Day 14+7+86+19, December 21. Remind me never to mention light news days. Because, whoa. 28 in Auckland, Bay of Plenty, Taranaki. Nelson: 0 new/23 from this outbreak/15 active/8 recovered/0 in hospital; none in the rest of the South Island. 
No new Omicron cases at the border; total 22. There was something that bothered me for a wee while; only a few days after Omicron arrived, the government snuck in one case already recovered and released. I wondered how a case could be deemed safe and be released so quickly, but it turns out this case arrived nine days before our "first" Omicron case. The person travelled from London via Singapore; arrived on December 7; tested positive on Day 0/1; stayed in managed isolation in Auckland; recovered and was out in the community around December 16 or 17. On December 9, when this case was reported, the Ministry did not know where the travel originated, (HUH???) and the test was not genomically sequenced until later, even though WHO had announced Omicron to be Variant of Concern on November 26, and by the time the person arrived UK had around 600 cases. This case was added to NZ's Omicron number on December 19 as "already recovered and released". So am I the only person freaking out a little at the Ministry's slackness??

The person who "left" the hospital yesterday has a young child with them and is still missing; this person tested negative twice, not positive as I wrote yesterday. Sorry. Meanwhile, a Santa visit is among Locations of Interest in Tauranga. The lottery for returning Kiwis to secure managed isolation is on hold until January 6. The government had announced some weeks ago Kiwis returning from Australia can go straight to self-isolation starting January 17; this has been pushed back to end of February, along with some rule changes. Air NZ will cancel around 120 flights, mostly trans-Tasman. I haven't seen anything about Kiwis returning from elsewhere going straight to self-isolation, which was to start on February 14 from memory. 
76% of population and 90% over 12 double-jabbed. Nelson-Marlborough-Tasman reached 90%, 10th of the 20 District Health Boards. Cabinet approved vaccination for 5-11 year olds; littlelies can start on January 17. Those over 18 can get 3rd/booster jabs four months after the second, starting early January, which puts us eligible for boosters on January 17. I thought maybe we'll give the system time to get used to littlelies, but Ben will be on campus by then, and I think he'd like it ASAP for now. We don't have to go together; heavens, we booked to get the second shots together, but we didn't get there together, so he had to wait for me afterwards. :-D

This time of year, we often get Blackball black pudding; it's "local" in that it's not from Nelson but the West Coast, a few hours away. Blackball brand is yummy and is "World-Famous in New Zealand"; catchy, but I stole it from another NZ brand. I love back and white puddings so much, when we visited Scotland, I had it as often as I could, including deep-fried black pud on a stick at a fish and chip shop in Orkney. Ben cooked in a more ordinary way this morning. 


Plague Diary Season 3 Week 17

Day 14+7+86+6, December 8. 90 in Northland, Auckland, Waikato, Bay of Plenty, Rotorua and Nelson. One new/20 active cases in Nelson. There is no new information about Nelson cases; I swear the local paper copy/pastes the same couple of sentences. None in the rest of South Island. 74% of population and 88% over 12 are double-jabbed. 
There seems to be fewer Covid news coverage today regarding specific cases/locales, except Gisborne is likely to have case/s according to wastewater testing. 
I've come to see this Traffic Signal system as a way for the government to download responsibilities to District Health Boards, regional councils, and businesses/organizations. The biggest issue is the vaccine pass; some cafes are calling themselves supermarkets now to avoid having to check the passes and offering takeaway only. School trips are cancelled if passes are required of student over 12, not in opposition to the passes for those students without. For people who regularly cross regional borders, different council rules requires re/checking; for e.g. we have relatively easy access to three libraries that require vax pass, while another that doesn't. (Though I don't think we can borrow from the last, Richmond Library.) Meanwhile, in preparation for further loosening of travel restrictions on December 15, Councils and Health Boards are having to set aside quarantine facilities. For example, the New Zealand tourist mecca, Queenstown, has so far set aside two motel units. Two. 2.

Today was sunny as heck, just like forecast, and I planned an inside day last night. I spent a leisurely morning making butter chicken. There is one step that's always puzzled me in this recipe: heat oil at medium heat; add puréed onion; cook until almost brown. I fudge this bit every time because however long I give the onion, the only way my purée turns brown is to add the spices. Today's looks a little coarse because I wondered if I can see it turning almost brown better, but no. And in real life it's even greener, almost pretty.  
As well, although the sun was out all day, I discovered the area I want to weed next is under the trees in a lovely shade until about 11AM this time of year. (Bad good news for the nearby veg patch, but we always knew this.) I'll go out early tomorrow morning. The weeds and bugs are horrible, but then, I seldom weed this late in the season. Anyhoo, heads down, big bum up.     
Day 14+7+86+7, December 9. 103 in Auckland, Waikato, Bay of Plenty, Taranaki, plus one after the cutoff in Christchurch linked to previous cases. In Nelson, no new/21 cases/one in hospital/one recovered. 74% of population and 88% over 12 double-jabbed. Sorry, I haven't today's articles because I was out weeding again. 
It was a hot and humid day and I tried to think of an excuse not to go outside, but even while I was thinking, I felt weeds growing like in a bad cartoon. Or horror movie. So out I went, and weeded the veg patch we planted on October 16. There was one section we couldn't remember what we planted, and it didn't look like anything important was coming up, so I cleared that and put in more broad beans. 
We had a packet of radish seeds that came with a magazine way back, but I don't like radishes so it lived in my seed box. Ben was keen, so in it went when Ben cleared one-third of the beg patch in October. Since the packet was so old, I didn't expect much, and put seeds close together and a little too shallow, but they've done well. I picked a few for salad, then gently pulled out some in the most crowded parts and gave them some space nearby. I wonder if they'll survive. Fun fact: Radishes with the biggest leaf growth didn't necessarily have large... radishes underground. They are so pretty in salads, but still don't like the sharpness. But Ben liked them, I think, and there's plenty more to come.
Day 14+7+86+8, December 10. 95 in Auckland, Waikato, Bay of Plenty, Rotorua, one new/22 cases/one in hospital/one recovered. Two in Canterbury, linked to previous cases. Two deaths in hospitals, no detail. Nelson's case is linked to the larger school cluster; information about Nelson's Covid is really just copy/paste everyday; origin is still unknown. Oh, remember the remote hut in Fiordland being a high risk location of interest relating to a border case? That seems to have been a historical case. 75% of population and 89% over 12 double-jabbed. 
There have been a lot of coverage on who advised the government how and when, and the government explaining/rejecting/excusing their decisions, or not commenting. One interesting issue is why the vax passes are valid for six months since the issue, or June 1, 2002, whichever comes first, rather than the date of the second jab. (More accurately it should be a couple of weeks after the second jab, but that may be nitpicking. Or not.) And when I got the pass, the nice lady said, as of the time of issue guideline said I don't need to renew the pass when I get a booster in March. The Health Ministry is not responding. 
It was another hot, humid day, and I didn't want to go outside; I wasn't even cooking or reading. Then I thought, I could do a few little things, so I tied the broad beans to stakes; tied the tall chard and beetroot "trees" to stakes; deadheaded Elena rose, (and of course stuck the branches in coffee bag planters,) and weeded by the side of the driveway. It was hard going, but our place is looking really bad now, and I'm trying to keep upbeat about the work, but some days it's... hard. 
By the way, do you know what this is? I remember planting three types of beans, (of which soy didn't come out; we've tried soy beans so many times but we've never had even one germinate,) carrots, red radishes, and this. We didn't plant any greens, and for a while I thought these were red radishes, but do you think they are beetroot? I don't remember planting any, but they look like the stuff that come out of tops of beetroot. They didn't do well; they got a big patch, and we have maybe half a dozen shoots; maybe under a big akeake tree wasn't a favorite place. 😃 
Day 14+7+86+9, December 11. 63 in Auckland, Waikato, Bay of Plenty, Taranaki. Two in Canterbury, linked to other cases. No new/22 active cases/one in hospital/one recovered in Nelson; no new information. One border worker tested positive, but it is unclear if this is a community or border case. 75% of population and 89% over 12 double-jabbed.  
Every few years on Boxing Day, we buy Christmas pud, and some years we eat them in winter, but tonight we had some, being colder than usual this time of year. 
We're supposed to have a week of off-and-on rain; it'll be nice not to have to choose between yard work and fun stuff, but the weeds are going to be... well,  you know. Crikey, it's getting seriously dispiriting. 
Day 14+7+86+10, December 12. 103 in Auckland, Northland, Waikato, Bay of Plenty, Lakes, and Canterbury; one in Taranaki and one in Nelson, linked, will go into tomorrow's tally, no other detail about Nelson case. So, one new/23 cases/one in hospital/one recovered. 75% of population and 89% over 12 double-jabbed. 
So far there has been no announcement we have Omicron in the country, but then they didn't tell us Delta had arrived until they had to announce the August lockdown, and considering the traffic between us and Australia or UK, well... I don't listen to the updates and don't often watch the news on the telly, so these questions may have been asked; it's weirder if nobody is asking. What's weirder is in the last year since we've known more about Corona, there has been next to no discussion on ventilation, even from talking head not necessarily in agreement with government policies/decisions. I don't even remember recommendations to keep windows open in school, but it's possible I don't remember. We are in summer now, and last of the schools close in a week, so if they were going to invest in ventilation, now is the time to have already secured funding, and be finalizing installation schedule. 

In the early days in this house, (when we were 25 years minus 45 days younger,) we used one load, 4m3, of firewood per winter. Then, forever, before and after we got double glaze, we've burned give or take 6m3 per winter. This past winter was the second we used just shy of 8m3. We usually buy our first 4m3 lot in November, and they were clean and dry (=light) and we stacked them the quickest in maybe 10 years. Felt buoyed, we ordered the second lot right away, because what we don't use will keep until the winter after. 
Well!! This was a real bottom of the barrel stuff, wet, dirty, heavy and some with black mold starting. But all the more reason we had to stack them right away. All the sunny, windy spots were already taken up, so we had to stack them on the enclosed part of the patio. It's under a roof, and it does get wind, but it passes diagonally from the left of this picture to a couple of meters to the right of those wee steps, and the retaining walls get very wet when it rains. So I stacked them 20-30cm offset on both sides, ( Ben carries them up gnarly steps, across the patio, up another few steps and dumps them for me,) but now I've convinced myself large rodents will take up residence behind them. The worst part is, these have to be used first, because left here all winter they get bad mold. Both from the same reputable vendor, but yikes.   

I then went to a shady part and tried weeding some more but it was sunny and hot and humid and I started to feel woozy so went inside and had a shower. And you know the rest, it's the usual story; as soon as I came upstairs refreshed, the cloud came out and the afternoon looked cool and breezy and ever so  perfect for you-know-who to you-know-what. But I read another YA for the rest of the afternoon. 
Day 14+7+86+11, December 13. 101 in Auckland, Bay of Plenty, Taranaki, Canterbury (linked), and Nelson one new/23 cases from this outbreak/15 active/8 recovered/0 in hospital. (The numbers most probably didn't change suddenly, but they were announced today.) All Code Red regions except Northland will move to Code Orange on New Year's Eve day. Northland is being held back due to low vax rate. With regional borders opening on Wednesday, Rapid antigen testing will be offered free at pharmacies for prospective travellers. Kinda mixed message on vax, n'est-ce pas? A group of flight attendants who are close contacts of an Australian Omicron case arrived and entered managed isolation. 75% of population and 89% over 12 double-jabbed.  
We don't get out much, and we went to our PO Box for the first time in maybe a fortnight, to find two care packages. This one is from our dear friend Conrad. He got me to switch to using waxed fabric instead of plastic wraps. I haven't used plastic wraps in ages but Ben likes them. We used to use maybe a roll every two to three years. I knew people used these, but I couldn't get my head around using stiff fabric to wrap anything, and instead I always washed and reused the plastic. Once I got the hang of these, though, our plastic use went down markedly. This year Conrad is going to get us to reduce paper towel usage. Though we use cloths of many different kinds in the kitchen, we both like our paper towels, so this will be a bigger change.
Thank you, dear. You are a good influence.
Day 14+7+86+12, December 14. 80 in Auckland, Waikato, Bay of Plenty, Taupo/Lakes. Nelson: 0 new/23 from this outbreak/15 active/8 recovered/0 in hospital. One case in Canterbury, linked, was reported after the cutoff. A border case is also in quarantine in Christchurch. Auckland is still Code Red until the end of the year but regional border opens tomorrow; 7500 of them will fly out, 3500 are planning to fly in. Gulp. I hope they are the good Aucklanders who followed the rules and such. 75% of population and 89% over 12 double-jabbed.  

This morning Ben commented how tired I looked yesterday. I thought I was just being lazy, but I was too exhausted to peel myself off the floor at one point. So today, I stayed in bed reading another YA novel until late, then got up and cooked. I think I said before, I didn't imagine cooking would be my No 1 place of solace, but it so is. And tonight's dinner, honey/lime chicken on cauliflower rice, turned out tasty, although this is the only pic I have because we were hungry.  This time of year I think a lot about baking, but we've both been reacting badly to white flour, even when we mix with coconuts or almond, so I haven't been baking. When I was in high school I practice a lot of piping, and I'd love to do some of that, even though we prefer our cakes naked to taste the full deliciousness of the cakes themself. Maybe gingerbread people.


Plague Diary Season 3 Week 16

Day 14+7+85, December 1. 146 in Auckland, Waikato, Bay of Plenty. One new/four active in Nelson; none (new) elsewhere on the South Island. 72% of population and 86% over 12 double-jabbed. Vaccination of kids 5-11 "may" start in late January.  

So, Nelson. Case 1, 2 and 3 are close contacts. C1 was out and about for quite a while before getting tested, so sequencing is under way to see where they got it in the first place. C4 is not linked, and has a large circle of close contacts. 
A (legal) brothel in Nelson is among the Locations of Interest; Ben and I did not know there were such an establishment, in the middle of town, by the road we traverse all the time, so we actually looked it up. I learned a few years ago about a strip club, but did not know it was a brothel as well. By the way, they are hiring. 

Nelson Mail, our local paper, listed local Locations of Interest for the first two days, but they may have stopped it. This is a problem because the government site's search is incomplete; with keyword "Nelson", not all locations appear; using the neighbouring "Tasman", nothing appears. I wrote to the Mail. I suppose I should check which ones are missing, and ask the Ministry to amend so they come up in the "Nelson" search, shouldn't I, because... I do have the time, I suppose... as a good citizen... Crikey.
I don't remember how long ago it was, but when I deseeded a tomato, I placed the seeds on a paper towel to dry, because last year I saw so many internet info on how to start a tom plant for free. They sat there, on the piece of paper towel for weeks? months? until it turned into one thin, brittle, seed-cracker-like object. It was too early for toms, and I had no pots. Seven days ago, ever hopeful, I cut the cracker into smaller pieces and put them in soil and newly freed up pots, and whoa!! It's the most generic tomato from the supermarket, I don't know if it has a fancy name, but we may not need to buy seeding this year. Also... acid-free and fancily-named cherry toms, here we come. 
Day 14+7+86, December 2. Hold on tight, or go straight to the second last paragraph. 
172 in Auckland, Waikato, Northland, Bay of Plenty, Lakes. New Plymouth, on the North Island, had their first three Delta cases and three schools will be closed tomorrow. 10 new/14 active in Nelson, plus another already known for tomorrow, but nobody is in hospital. 0 elsewhere on the South Island. 73% of population and 86% over 12 double-jabbed.
You realize today's was supposed to be the last entry for this season. Instead:
* Two new cases were discovered last night, (counted as today's,) both staff at two local schools; one was infectious since November 23 while at school, the other, (a close contact to a known case,) since November 29; both schools are closed today for contact tracing. 
* The first school staff's role involves work around the campus, and they may have been a casual contact to any of the 555 students. 
* Staff from the second school has around 10 staff and 20-30 students as close contacts according to the principal. One parent from one of the school said they were not told which staff this is, so they can't determine from their end if their kids are close contacts. Many other schools had low attendance today.
* A bakery near the first school mentioned is the newest location of interest; from memory there is at least a high school not too far away, if not more schools, but I could be wrong. 
* Bloomfield said this morning Nelson won't go into Red at midnight, but Orange. He also said Nelson is unlikely to go into lockdown due to high vax rate, but in all data we've found last night, (as of just about the time the "first" case came up,) we've been below average. Folks have been rushing to get jabs since.  
* Nelson/Tasman folks are rushing to get tested and jabbed. As of Wednesday, 84% of Nelson over 12, not whole population, and 83% of neighbouring Tasman have been twice-jabbed. 
* Marlborough will help us by providing eight testing staff; their boss is one Beth Tester. Really. Marlborough has had a very high vax rate throughout.
* Nelson has two clusters, one with 11 and another with three cases, and they are looking to see if the two are linked.
* Nelson Marlborough Health Board heads had a press conference in the afternoon, but nothing new was offered. We still don't know where the case/s came from; if we are looking at the top or tail end of the spread. Nelson's wastewater hasn't shown anything, but the Health Board boss did not know how often water was tested... three months into Delta cases, she mumbled.
Though I do go on about Nelson, Waikato has not managed to reduce new case numbers, and there have been a few locations of interests in Wellington, including the airport, and Christchurch, though neither city has new cases. 

I don't know why cases are popping up now, instead of after December 15 when travel in/out of Auckland becomes freer. Locations of interest includes a lot of stores where Christmas shopping might have been happening. I do wonder if this is going to drive folks back to online shopping.  
Ben's present to himself arrived today. It's a manual espresso machine, and it works like a citrus juicer. It would look great in an architectural minimalist kitchen, instead of our crowded 1960s homey version, and we don't know where it's going to live, but he's happy, so I'm happy. Next time you come over, your coffee may be... squeezed out of this contraption.  

In an hour, we'll be in Code Orange.
Day 14+7+86+1, December 3. 92 in Auckland, Waikato, Northland, Bay of Plenty, Lakes, Taranaki and...1 new/14 active in Nelson, (don't ask me about this math, I'm only copying.). 0 new in the rest of the South Island. 73% of population and 87% over 12 double-jabbed. We are in Code Orange. There is a dichotomy, in the press and real life: general elation on the one hand, and somber caution considering the inevitable increase in cases; we belong to the latter. 
* No new significant locations of interest, except the discount (?) stationary store where I get my everyday art supplies. The Ministry will no longer be listing low-risk locations of interest on their websites because... Traffic Lights.
* Nelson case/s origin/s are still unknown. Testing has increased, and some folks waited over four hours to get tested. 
* Nelson's Saturday Market will be closed until further notice. It's something like the oldest, continuously running market in Aotearoa NZ.
* Deputy PM Robertson reiterated Nelson will not be going into Code Red; our outbreak doesn't worry much concern.
* Remember the two schools that closed yesterday? The one with the staff who worked for a week before testing is going online for the remainder of the school year, i.e. two weeks. The other is reopening Monday.
* Wastewater testing has increased to three time/week in Nelson and up to two/week in Richmond and Tasman. Doesn't say how often they were done previously. 
* Richmond, Motueka and Golden Bay Santa Parades cancelled. Nelson postponed but the new dates was not announced; possibly early next year.
There have been lots of cities/districts achieving 90% of eligibles getting double shots, so congratulations to them!! Last night I saw a chart predicting when the districts are expected to achieve 90%, and we were just before Christmas; Ben said that's an improvement because a short while ago we were looking at January. So, thanks, cases?? 

Seeing how many seeds germinated from one humble supermarket tomato, every time I cut into one I'm racked with guilt I'm throwing away valuable natural resource, but we have more seedlings than our space allows if a tenth of what germinated survives, so I'm so sorry, seeds, but you're going into the compost bin. Interesting how we never got seedlings growing in the compost bin, although we have had pumpkin seedlings and an avocado tree growing inside once. 
Also, Aotearoa NZ's newest Must Visit place is nearly open.   
Day 14+7+86+2, December 4. 98 in Auckland, Waikato, Northland, Bay of Plenty, Hawkes Bay, 1 new/15 active in Nelson, and... 1 in Canterbury to be included tomorrow. 73% of population and 87% over 12 double-jabbed. An established cafe in town was added as a high risk location of interest. But there has been no further information about any of our cases or links. Around the country there were anti- demonstrations again, including in Nelson. 
It rained most of the day. We were tired, and didn't do much. I didn't even take a picture of anything, so here is a piece I wove in 2015, one I often think of as one of my most favorite.
Day 14+7+86+3, December 5. 106 in Auckland, Waikato, Northland, Whanganui, and Canterbury; this Canterbury case is linked to Nelson case/s, and two more will be added to tomorrow's numbers. 0 new/15 active in Nelson. No new information, except the old cafe added yesterday was by error! 74% of population and 87% over 12 double-jabbed. 

Rain again, but nowhere near as bad as the forecast. I kept stepping outside to see if I can weed, or if it was going to bucket down again, because I was actually keen to, and in retrospect I think I could have in the afternoon. But, I read the last of my favorite YA author's book I have; Hardinge doesn't have another coming out until next year, but I have so many interesting books, and a few YA novels, so... no need to save this, right? 
Day 14+7+86+4, December 6. 135 in Auckland, Waikato, and Canterbury, the last being connected to Nelson case/s. Nelson: no new today but four more to go into tomorrow's numbers/19 cases including the latest four/one in hospital/one recovered. Of the 19, only two were fully vaccinated. One Nelson cluster's origin is still unknown, another may be linked to a North Island cluster, and one case not linked to either yet. Nelson's libraries will require vax pass; they are also working on a click-and-collect service. For now Tasman libraries do not require the pass. 74% of population and 88% over 12 double-jabbed. 

For friends outside Aotearoa NZ, a little bit of clarification. Nelson can mean the city, or the region that extends southwest. Neighbouring Tasman is a huge region to the west and northwest, and includes the oldest national park, Abel Tasman, and the second biggest, Kahurangi. The boundary between these regions is about ten minutes west of us, and many people live in one and go to school/work in the other. Marlborough is to our east, and includes the oldest (I think) wine producing region. Blenheim, in Marlborough, is 1.5 hour away over some hills, and 1.5 hours away on more or less a flat, straight road to Christchurch; while working there back in the 90s I sensed an umbilical cord reaching Christchurch. These three regions together form the Nelson Marlborough Health Board, so when it comes to Covid, we three regions at the top of the South Island are grouped together.
And depending on the season and the weather, Nelson is the kind of place where you can go kayaking and skiing on the same weekend. Or possibly the same day. Too bad we're the kind that miss the eateries, galleries, theatres and used book shops of Wellington rather than take advantage of our locale. 
On the other hand, butter chicken is doable. Ben likes Chooza Tikka, (<>Tandoori Chicken,) so we grill the marinated pieces and that's the end, but me, give me butter chicken any day.
Day 14+7+86+5, December 7. 98 in Auckland, Waikato, Bay of Plenty, Taranaki. Five new/20 active cases/one in hospital; none on the rest of South Island. One of the new Nelson cases in Nelson is another school staff, who was already in home quarantine. Northwest of Tasman has below 70% of eligible folks double jabbed, and this is our Health Board's next focus. Nationally 74% of population and 88% over 12 double-jabbed.

A Department of Conservation hut in Fiordland, (a very simple self-serve accommodation for multi-day tramping) is now a high risk location of interest for now; this is linked to a border case. This is a remote hut, even by NZ standards. Apparently.

Around the country anti-vax people continue to demonstrate largely with impunity They disrupted/cancelled children's cricket match, they are forcing shops to close on Saturdays while they demonstrate. One man threatened others with a knife when ho couldn't produce a vax pass. But just generally casting gray clouds over the country.

Meanwhile, I weeded for nine hours today and cleared a tiny patch. This is the maple tree on which the new leaves come out red, and gradually turn yellow green, above the lavenders after a hair cut to make them all more or less the same height, even though it's not exactly good timing. Didn't get to butter chicken. (Don't worry, the chicken went back to the fridge after the pic.)


Plague Diary Season 3 Week 15

Day 14+7+78, November 24. 215 in Auckland, Waikato, Northland, Bay of Plenty, Lakes, and Midcentral; none on the South Island. 71% of population and 84% over 12 double-jabbed. Rule changes pertaining to the national border, to commence next year, were announced. The daily "live" updates on Covid matters on Radio NZ stopped yesterday. If all goes to plan, this week will be the last full week under Covid Alert Levels, as we are scheduled to move onto the Traffic Light system on December 3. 
I had a bad reaction to white flour in the frozen croissant from the supermarket. This happens about a quarter of the time we eat them. I kept getting up, doing something, and going back to bed, until I gave up and stayed in bed and read about my current conundrum of turned Summer & Winter weave. There isn't much on the subject. And I forgot to put in "I stayed home" on the Covid App.
Day 14+7+79, November 25. 178 in Auckland, Waikato, Northland, Bay of Plenty, Lakes, and Midcentral; none on the South Island. Another death at Auckland hospital. 71% of population and 84% over 12 double-jabbed; no changes here %wise.
I rang the 0800 Covid Vax pass number again. They installed one of those, "Press x if..." messages which was not there on Tuesday, or maybe it was too busy I didn't even reach that stage. I had to go through two levels of answers, so they knew I was calling to get the pass to prove I've had two jabs, but for ten+ minutes I had to listen to some stupid vax Q&As, ones intended to persuade you to get vaxed. The music in between Qs were definitely for young people, but I would rather have listened to that.
When I finally got a nice young human, she asked the obligatory ID questions, and because I had my NHI number on hand, the whole transaction took all of 90 seconds. That included: her explaining the International Travel Certificate, (valid for 12 months, and considering I have a 91-year-old mom, I'll have that, too, thank you;) "No, instructions we're given is you don't need a new certificate when you get your booster;" her emailing me a six-digit number for each certificate, my reading them to her, and her emailing me each certificate in PDFs. I'd say the phone conversation was easy, but I do wonder how the elderly or less-connected cope. (Although "elderly" aren't necessarily less able than me by any means.) I didn't even know I couldn't do this myself without a NZ passport or a driver's license until Ben told me. And the lovely human said I could print if I have a printer, but download on phone if I prefer. Say what??   

I'm still looking up what the traffic light system means, but short of getting two jabs and walking around with my newly obtained (domestic) pass that says so, rules I'm meant to follow are murky. I did find instructions to follow in the event Ben or I test positive and must isolate at home, and at least these were clearer, so I printed them out just in case.

Day 14+7+80, November 26. 173 in Auckland, Waikato, Northland, Bay of Plenty, Lakes; none on the South Island. 71% of population and 85% over 12 double-jabbed. From the Ministry: "From today, you now also have the option to receive your pass through the post and you will also be able to go to pharmacies to request your pass. Almost 400 pharmacies around the country that are currently providing COVID-19 vaccinations will now also be able to help people get their vaccine pass." Phew, on behalf of oldies who may or may not be more tech savvy than me. 
If all goes to plan, we'll be out of Levels and into Traffic Light color in a week. 
For nearly a week, I had a metaphorical pebble in my weaving shoe; it wasn't big enough to stop me, but annoying enough I couldn't ignore it. Reading, sampling in the software, and even writing about it to see to which point I understood, I reached the logical answer that was, ummm, counterintuitive. But an old friend and a far learned weaver Cally convinced me the logical answer I reached was indeed the answer. So there is even more scope of study and experimentation in the future, as usual. As for the pebble, it's still there, wedged somewhere between the hallux and the index toe, in the pocket under the neck, but I can keep walking this road with just an occasional reminder it's there.  
Day 14+7+81, November 27. 145 in Auckland, Waikato, Bay of Plenty, and one in Christchurch, South Island. One death in hospital. The Christchurch case is a household contact of a previous case and is already self-isolating, although a couple of locations of interest were added. Still 71% of population and 85% over 12 double-jabbed.
I've been rereading about the Traffic Light system over and over. I've understood the words from the first sheet I printed out a while back; it told me to get jabbed twice, carry a Vax pass, and maybe wear a mask. Rules/practices around masks here have been murky from the start, so although Ben and I always have them when we leave home, in town it's a hit-or-more-likely-miss affair regarding humans around us. The new system relies on even more individual responsibility, i.e. government has washed its hands of us, almost, more or less, in a manner of speaking. Some are predicting upwards of 1600 cases/week, and when it happens Jacinda et al. will say we're on the projected path. I feel a huge gray something descending on us that, to tell the truth, I never really felt immediately around us in these two Plague years. 
And then, Omicron. Besides it's potential danger, Oh-My-Cron? To Japanese ears, it sounds diminutive, mangaesque.
Day 14+7+82, November 28. 144 in Auckland, Waikato, Northland, Bay of Plenty, Hawkes Bay; none on the South Island. Another death in the hospital. 72% of population and 85% over 12 double-jabbed. Last night, Aotearoa NZ joined the travel ban of non-Kiwis from nine African countries starting midnight tonight. Overnight the world is given a rewritten scenario. But anything helps to reduce the numbers having to go into our managed quarantine facilities or hospitals.
It was rainy and cold and miserable at Chez B&M, and we spent the morning reading descriptions, comparing, and online-shopping five-layer mask inserts that goes inside pockets in homemade cotton masks. Didn't know such things existed before today, and Ben was suggesting we use coffee filters, which, as you can imagine, we have in all sizes, shapes, and two colors. We also printed our vax passes. Ben uses the phone in the main, but he surprised me by printing one just in case the phone failed; that's so my MO. We wasted a lot of paper and ink, and halfway through, since it's only the QR code that matters, it occurred to me we could have printed them grayscale. Also, I wonder if I'll get in trouble because I cut mine 2mm shorter, so folded in half it's the size of a credit card.
 Day 14+7+83, November 29. 182 in Auckland, Waikato, and Northland. We learned in the morning there is a case in Nelson, to be included tomorrow, but not much details yet; locations of interest came out at 6PM. 72% of population and 85% over 12 double-jabbed. Boosters started today, but there have been comparatively little media coverage. There have been, though, more attention to jabbed people who can't get the passes by themselves.
Last night I read a border case was in Canterbury. Neither the government's Unite Against Covid-19 Facebook page nor public-funded Radio NZ covered this, but I found it on stuff.co.nz, a website aggregating articles from newspapers from around the country, (as well as Radio NZ?). A child, presumably with adults, flew from London to Doha to Auckland, arriving on the 18th; they did their seven days managed isolation and went home to Canterbury (Christchurch?) to continue home quarantine, but their ninth day test came out positive. Today there were two new border cases in Christchurch. 
With the Traffic Light system coming in on Friday, red/orange designation was announced this afternoon. There will be no border restrictions between regions. These designations will be reviewed fortnightly. 
Omicron is causing havoc with what the government night have thought a relatively smooth transition to the new system. I watched the 4PM announcement, a first in what feels like many weeks, but my eyes and ears glazed over because a whole lot of it sounded like disingenuous spin, praising their past achievements. According to Bloomfield, home-isolation is working well; two folks dying in their own homes positive test results were just a glitch in the system. 
A few days ago I started thinking about my current project a little more seriously, as they must be finished by early/mid-February. My source has a distinct lack of really red cottons in 20/2 as well as blues/navies and, oh, grays. I ordered seven colors, 20/2 and 60/2, roughly in the that neighborhood on the color wheel. They are a little more varied than appears in the pic, but gee, I need to rethink reds to proceed.
Day 14+7+84, November 30. 134 in Auckland, Waikato, Northland, Bay of Plenty. Two more in Nelson, which makes three, all close contacts; because of a "technical glitch" these two will be counted tomorrow. All cases in Aotearoa NZ are still Delta. 72% of population and 86% over 12 double-jabbed.
I had it all figured out. "We're going into a new system and we're learning to live with Covid..." How uneasy I feel; how we expect a bunch of cases to visit Nelson this summer; how I'll continue to have plenty to complain about, blah, blah. Except we are suddenly really living with it. Everybody knew it was a matter of time, but after having lived completely normally, (other than scanning and no overseas travel,) from August to August, it's still a shock. I honestly didn't expect Nelson to have cases until mid/late December when travel started.
First thing this morning, we discovered we know someone, who was a close contact of a person, who was at a location of interest at exactly the same time as the first case. We haven't seen them since August, but this was as close to Covid as we'd gotten. Then while we were at the supermarket, there were more locations of interest added, including that very supermarket. 
Ben plans to work from home until the end of the year. But I feel we need to rethink how to organize our life in a fundamental way. For now I don't know where to start, so I read so much about the Traffic Lift system, "What to Do When..." kind of info, about Omicron, the latest on how to protect oneself; and while these allow me to concentrate and not rush towards despair, I'm not even sure whether to read so much, or ignore and do only "normal" things. 
One of the normal things is eating, of course, and we thought we'd try to live a little healthier, and we know what we should do in that department. So this was today.