WELLINGTON, New Zealand — Most people know New Zealand for its sandy beaches, beautiful scenery, and the Lord of the Rings franchise. The country became famous for something much more monumental. In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has majorly impacted life in almost every country in the world, New Zealand was one of the first countries to effectively eliminate Covid-19 within its borders. From social restrictions to geography, here is how New Zealand eliminated COVID-19.
Despite the fact that New Zealand currently has had no active cases of Covid-19 for more than 100 days, the country did not escape the global pandemic unscathed. As of June 2020, the country has had more than 1,500 confirmed and probable cases. There were 22 deaths in the country as of the same date.
How New Zealand Eliminated COVID-19
Many elements have contributed to the successful eradication of COVID-19 in New Zealand. Factors such as the geography of the island as well as the relatively low population density made the spreading of the disease somewhat slower than in continental or densely packed countries. Still, the imposition of very aggressive restrictions early on is also a large part of how the country became COVID-19-free.
Starting in March, when there were only around 100 cases of infection in the country, Jacinda Ardern, the Prime Minister of New Zealand, gave the order for lockdown. The lockdown order required citizens to stay home unless going for food or medicine. Furthermore, all non-essential businesses were shut down and the borders of the country to be almost completely closed off and closely monitored. In addition, the country was vigilant when it came to testing the public for the virus. By mid-June, New Zealand had already administered more than 300,000 coronavirus tests to its population of approximately five million.
New Zealand also did something else extremely revolutionary. The health leaders of the country created a contact tracing app, which made the tracing the virus easier. The app was not mandatory, but citizens who chose to download it were able to log where they went when they had to go out. The app then informed its users if they were in the same location as someone who had COVID-19.
As of August 9, 2020, it had been 100 days since any report of new cases of COVID-19 in the country with 23 active cases. Those people are in isolation facilities. These facts have made it possible for the country to do what most places can only dream about. New Zealand was finally able to return to life as almost normal.
On June 8, 2020, the New Zealand government lifted almost all restrictions that the country had in place. Social distancing was no longer required, and those living in New Zealand could now freely eat in restaurants, attend weddings and ride on public transport. However, despite the optimistic outlook for the country, Ardern has made sure to remind everyone that the country is not completely out of the woods yet. The government must continuously work together with its citizens to keep New Zealand COVID-19-free.
New Zealand eliminated COVID-19 by using aggressive tactics to contain it. By acting swiftly, the country has defeated the virus and made history in doing so. New Zealand’s elimination of Covid-19 has sent a message of hope to countries fighting the virus around the world to keep fighting.
– Paige Musgrave