Strict and timely restrictions along with discipline by citizens are key to New Zealand’s success
The New Zealand model to contain the coronavirus has been the topic of debate across the various continents. Hardly any new coronavirus cases have emerged in the country. As per the worldmeters.info, there are only 74 active cases in the country currently. The pacific nation witnessed a total of 1,497 cases in which 1402 people have recovered while 21 died. They are one of the few countries who have successfully bend the curve before huge devastation.
New Zealand was locked down for more than a month under “level 4” restrictions that were eased little bit on April 28. The country has continued to enforce strict social measures on many of its businesses and citizens to prevent widespread community spread of the global pandemic.
Restrictions on time
Like other countries, New Zealand had observed that a potential coronavirus outbreak could be devastating if timely actions are not taken. New Zealand responded relatively fast in comparison to other countries.
PM of New Zealand, Jacinda Ardern announced on March 14 that anyone entering the country would need to isolate themselves for 14 days. It was among the toughest border restrictions in the world at the time when the country had only six cases. The country banned foreigners from entering the country when there were only 28 confirmed cases.
PM Ardern announced a lockdown on March 23 when there were 102 confirmed cases and no deceased.
There are a few reasons why New Zealand took strong action on time. New Zealand is a key travelling route to the Pacific Islands and the country fulfilled its responsibility by protecting its Pacific neighbours. This doesn’t take away the fact that they didn’t want to save their own people.
Despite Tourism being the country’s biggest export industry, foreign nationals are still banned from entering the country. New Zealand citizens who arrive in the country will need to spend at least two weeks in government quarantine facilities. There has been discussion between New Zealand and Australia to open their borders for one another, but for now, nothing official has been announced.
To date, New Zealand has carried more than 2 lakhs tests, more than 4 per cent of its total population. For comparison, India — a country with around 130 crore people has completed 18 lakh tests, which is not even 0.15 per cent of the total population.
Throughout the lockdown period, Prime Min Minister Ardern has appeared alongside Ashley Bloomfield at regular press conferences. Although Bloomfield is a public health official, he is qualified in medicine and is a specialist in public health medicine.
Professor Michael Baker, from Otago University’s Public Health Department had said that the real lesson from New Zealand has been the combination of good science and leadership.
Even though New Zealand’s tasted early success, the country is still effectively in lockdown. Most people are still told to stay indoors and stick to their “bubbles” — the name for the people they are isolating with. PM Ardern announced people to make social bubble so that people don’t feel alone and they keep a tab on their mental health.
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