Wellington: While the entire world is still grappling with the menacing coronavirus, New Zealand has emerged as a success story of the coronavirus crisis as it announced on Monday that it has eliminated Covid-19 after months of aggressive lockdown. Also Read - COVID-19 Lockdown: New Zealand Comedian-TV Presenter 'Deeply Sorry' For PM Jacinda Ardern Cake Fail
On Monday, the country’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said that while cases are not at zero, new cases have been in the single digits for the past several days, at a time when other countries face thousands of new cases per day.
“Decisive action, going hard and going early, helped to stamp out the worst of virus,” Ardern said in a statement Tuesday.
Here’s what made it possible:
Unlike other countries, New Zealand’s response to Covid-19 was relatively fast. When the country only had six cases, PM Ardern announced on March 14 that anyone entering the country would need to self isolate for two weeks.
When the number of cases rose to 28 on March 19, Ardern banned foreigners from entering the country. Further, the nationwide lockdown was announced on March 23 when there were 102 confirmed cases and no deaths.
New Zealand has also been testing the public at one of the highest rates in the world, Ardern said, attributing it as one of the reasons. To date, New Zealand has carried out 126,066 tests and can carry out up to 8,000 tests per day.
With New Zealand’s test positivity rate around 1%, the country has been successful in stopping the community transmission of coronavirus, for now.
More so, Ardern noted that in other countries around the world, each person infected with coronavirus infects around 2.5 people but in New Zealand’s lockdown, that has dropped to 0.4
Extraordinary leadership & reliance on Science
Professor Michael Baker, from Otago University’s Public Health Department recently said that the real lesson from New Zealand has been the combination of good science and leadership.
During all important announcements, the country’s director-general of health, Ashley Bloomfield had been appearing side-by-side to the PM, answering questions by the media. At no point did Arden try to steal the limelight and focused on only what was important.
Relying on doctors and scientists, following their judgments and displaying effective leadership has been instrumental in the fight against the virus, experts stress.