Got my first Covid vaccine jab today!

Today, on the tenth day of the current lockdown, I got my first vaccination jab done! We just walked into the local vaccination centre, and they have spaces!

My age group wasn’t eligible to book until this week. When I tried to book my vaccination earlier this week the latest slot I could book is six weeks away. After booking my slot, today, I got a message saying I can book the vaccine. Clearly, something is off with the booking system.

Despite booking for October, we decided to try walking into one of the two vaccination centres in the neighbourhood. The closest centre displayed a sign that walk-ins are not allowed. So we drove past to the next one, and it turned out they had some spaces!

The rest of the process was smooth and effortless. I am afraid of needles, but I did not even realize they jabbed on my left arm! The staff were very professional, friendly, and nice.

Despite the great success we had with the Covid response in 2020, I must say as a country we floundered on the vaccination program for whatever reason. It took the deadly delta variant to appear in our community to expedite our vaccination program on a war-footing. I feel like we dropped the ball somewhere when we were Covid-free in the six months before the current lockdown: an example that past performance increases confidence more than ability. We should have continued the same 2020-level of rigour into 2021 on both eradicating and vaccination fronts.

Anyhow, I am glad to get my first jab done today and looking forward to booking the second jab in three weeks. Some clicks to commemorate today:

Level 4 lockdown anticipation

With a community case detected this afternoon in Auckland, the Level 4 rush begins, for which I’m contributing as well.

The roads and supermarket aisles and check out lines are busier for a Tuesday afternoon.

(This post is brought to you from the supermarket checkout line with a moderately full trolley.)

Fingers crossed, we won’t have a lockdown. We will know in a few hours.

Thoughts after the fourth lockdown.

Today in Auckland, New Zealand, the Prime Minister announced that the fourth lockdown we entered into from 6 am last Sunday (27th February) would be lifted at 6 am on the coming Sunday (7th March).

I am cautiously rejoicing the news. This is the fourth lockdown since the main lockdown started in March 2020. The second one after that, in August 2020, was surprising; my phone got an emergency alert when I was sleeping, and that really shocked me!

Two more mini lockdowns later, I am now convinced that another lockdown could hit anytime! Even this current one, which is announced to be eased down in about 30 hours, can be prolonged if we find even a single community case between now and then. I think that’s a good thing. We have employed an elimination, not a mitigation strategy in this country, and I love it! It is inconvenient and is hard work, but it saves lives!

I have been in the fortunate bunch of world population that isn’t affected by Covid. I don’t take it for granted. I have been able not just to survive but thrive in the last 12 months since the world is infested with Covid. More than I deliberately planned anything, I have been lucky!

From now on, I decided not to take freedom (from lockdowns) granted. 

I am neither optimistic nor pessimistic. I plan my activities while trying to be realistic and assuming that lockdown can hit anytime, as I learned from the last two lockdowns.

Timely Advice for Lockdown 4

Earlier this afternoon I realized today is day 2 of Level 3 lockdown 4 for the 1 community case we got on Saturday evening.

Yes, we got into Level 3 lockdown again since 6 am last Sunday. The lockdown was announced on the Saturday evening, literally within an hour since I was roaming in the city center, peeked into a few bars and restaurants and felt everything was just great and lively! I dropped by the Giapo store, ordered Nothing Else Matters ice cream and then while I was enjoying it, I heard the news of the lockdown. I decided not to worry too much because, after all, I am having Nothing Else Matters ice cream!

On Sunday morning, I was reading The Daily Stoic which offers 366 days of Stoic insights and exercises. And guess what I got that day!

As the author quotes Epictetus in the next page:

Don’t set your heart on so many things. Focus. Prioritize. Train your mind to ask: Do I need this thing? What will happen if I do not get it? Can I make do without it?

Thinking about the answers to these questions is how I chose to wade through this lockdown week. So far it’s working well.

Lockdown — third wave

We had another —third so far—lockdown in Auckland from Valentine’s Day’s midnight, but luckily it lasted only three days as initially stipulated.

Auckland went from Level 1 to Level 3, 4 being most restrictive. The rest of New Zealand stayed at Level 1.

Emergency phone alert for third-wave of lockdown in Auckland.
Emergency phone alert for third-wave of lockdown in Auckland.

I was stressed not because the lockdown was abrupt but because it aggravated my ongoing low spirit due to sluggish progress on the two big, long-term plans for 2021 and beyond. Plus, it also upset the plans I had for my weekly off days.

But in the end, we eased one level down by Wednesday midnight, and further down to Level 1 by last night.

I see a small number of Covid-deniers and conspiracy theorists in this country, which is scary because what starts small can expand. On the bright side, border workers are getting vaccinated from last Saturday, which is great!

I am still wary, continuing to scan the Covid-tracer app even before this latest outbreak. I am avoiding large crowds, keeping a safe physical distance from people, and being mindful of hand hygiene. I stopped wearing a mask, though.

Overall, things are stable in this little part of the world under the sensible and stable political leadership we elected recently.

Timeline continued…

  • 11:59 pm, 14-Feb-2021 Sunday

    Auckland goes from lockdown Alert Level 1 to 3.

    Rest of the NZ goes from Alert Level 1 to 2.

  • 3 days

  • 11:59 pm, 17-Feb-2021 Wednesday

    Auckland goes down to lockdown Alert Level 2.

    Rest of NZ goes down to lockdown Alert Level 1.

  • 5 days

  • 11:59 pm, 22-Feb-2021 Monday

    All of New Zealand is at Alert Level 1 – and a return to mostly normal lives – from midnight tonight.

  • Hope the normalcy continues…

Lockdown update: back to freedom after 56.5 days

I’m so glad that we as New Zealanders could contain the second wave of Covid-19 in 56.5 days since the last outbreak. Auckland will join the rest of New Zealand at Alert Level 1 at 11:59pm today (Wednesday, 7 October).

While that’s great news, this time I am cautiously optimistic. There is still COVID-19 in New Zealand; as of today, there are 37 active cases, albeit in managed isolation and quarantine facilities. That number is much smaller than many other countries, but it only takes a little bit of complacency to push us all into another lockdown. It may sound obvious, but it is called a virus for a reason: it goes viral and we wouldn’t know how!

Meanwhile, I urge everyone, wherever you are in the world, to practice three Ws:

  1. Wear a mask.
  2. Wash your hands.
  3. Watch your distance.

And use whatever COVID Tracing app your government prescribes!

Here is the full NZ lockdown timeline:

  • 11:59pm, 25-March-2020 Wednesday

    New Zealand moves to alert level 4; the entire nation goes into self-isolation.

  • 33 days

  • 11:59 pm, 27-Apr-2020 Monday

    NZ goes down to lockdown alert level 3.

  • 16 days

  • 11:59 pm, 13-May-2020 Wednesday

    NZ goes down to lockdown alert level 2.

  • 26 days

  • 11:59 pm, 08-Jun-2020 Monday

    NZ will move to alert level 1 – and a return to mostly normal lives – from midnight tonight.

  • 64.5 days

  • 12:00 pm, 12-Aug-2020 Wednesday

    Auckland returns to lockdown alert level 3.

    Rest of NZ returns to lockdown alert level 2.

  • 42.5 days

  • 11:59 pm, 23-September-2020 Wednesday

    Auckland goes down to lockdown alert level 2.

    Rest of NZ goes down to lockdown alert level 1.

  • 14 days

  • 11:59 pm, 07-October-2020 Wednesday

    Auckland joins rest of NZ at alert level 1 – and a return to mostly normal lives – from midnight tonight.

  • Hoping this is the end of it! Knocks wood.

    A third, but luckily shorter wave timeline here.

Lockdown returns

Last night I woke up to this emergency alert:

Auckland returned to lockdown alert level 3 since this noon: 12 noon on Wednesday 12 August. The rest of New Zealand moved to alert level 2.

I was shocked because last night I went to sleep planning to make the most of today, which I took off from work for working last Sunday. I wasn’t following news and had no idea of events leading up to this second lockdown. So having to wake up in the middle of my sleep to the emergency beeper of my phone freaked me out.

We decided in the night that we are not going to send our son to school. We woke up and found that schools are closed for the rest of the week anyway.

I also woke up to see the appaling trollies in this tweet:

 and the nonsensical claims of the leader of the opposition.

It took me a few hours to get over all this and come to terms with the situation. I feel much better compared to when I woke up.

It sucks to have to lose the freedom to move freely, but there is inevitably another wave of virus infections. I told myself to accept the reality and stick to the usual stuff that we have accustomed so far in 2020: stay home as much as possible, maintain physical distance when outside, wash hands regularly.

As always, I feel lucky to be living in Auckland and beautiful New Zealand. I believe in my team of 5 million country people. We are going to do it again. It wasn’t a problem getting food and essentials even during level 4 lockdown, so not worried about toilet paper in level 3 lockdown that we are in now. Supermarket visit can certainly wait.

I chose to keep my positive habits. I ate reasonably well today, did the second of my three weekly workouts (I am yet to miss a week of workouts this year), setup Sharesies to get started with long-term investing, spoke to my mum on an important family matter and spoke to a close friend. Now I am looking forward to tomorrow, and eventually getting over this lockdown. Just like we did a little over a hundred days ago.

This tweet from Giapo is timely and sums up my feelings:

Lockdown update: returning to normalcy

New Zealand is moving to lockdown alert level 1 —and a return to mostly normalcy— from this midnight. Only border restrictions are in place.

I am glad it is over! It won’t be as normal as before all this, and it is still important to follow the hygiene and physical distancing practices, but overall, given how broken the world is right now, I am grateful for where I am. I couldn’t be anywhere better!

Here is the full timeline of New Zealand lockdown.

  • 11:59pm, 25-March-2020 Wednesday

    New Zealand moves to alert level 4; the entire nation goes into self-isolation.

  • 33 days

  • 11:59 pm, 27-Apr-2020 Monday

    NZ goes down to lockdown alert level 3.

  • 16 days

  • 11:59 pm, 13-May-2020 Wednesday

    NZ goes down to lockdown alert level 2.

  • 26 days

  • 11:59 pm, 08-Jun-2020 Monday

    NZ will move to alert level 1 – and a return to mostly normal lives – from midnight tonight.

God Defend New Zealand.

Here is the summary of Covid-19 virus cases in New Zealand.

NZ Herald Infographic of NZ Covid-19 cases
Infographic from the New Zealand Herald.

Lockdown update: returning to routines

After eight weeks of stricter levels (4 and then 3) of lockdown, things seem to be getting better.

We are currently in level 2 and have been since Thursday. It is great to see people returning to the streets and generally going about their businesses.

Today we went to our favourite cafe in the morning. As always, the baristas made great coffee. After that, we went to our favourite place in the neighbourhood and grabbed bread from our favourite bakery. In the afternoon I drove past a restaurant that’s usually crowded but was ghosted for the past many weeks. I felt happy to see people enjoying drinks and food, and generally having a good time. It looks like it returned to being the happening place that it used to be!

Today is Sunday and schools are starting from tomorrow. Although it won’t be the same as before, it looks like we are getting back to some semblance of routines after about two months. Fingers crossed, it stays put!

Lockdown update: down to level 2 from Thursday

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced today New Zealand would move from alert level 3 to level 2 at 11.59pm on the night of Wednesday 13 May; that’s seven weeks after we entered the strictest lockdown.

On Thursday, 14 May, cafes, restaurants, libraries, gyms, malls, cinemas, tourism operators, and sports clubs can reopen.


On Monday, 18 May, kids will be able to return to school.


On Thursday, 21 May, bars will be able to open.

I have no interest in bars, malls or cinemas. But I am looking forward to schools, cafes and libraries reopening soon.

It is great to be able to stick to the ease down schedule!