The only country who has successfully flattened the curve. But how did they do it? Or how did she do it?
COVID19 has drastically changed the world in a snap. The virus has affected millions of people, countries’ economies, and some several factors we have not expected to happen. On Monday, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern declared New Zealand is free from Coronavirus and stated there is no single case for the last 17 days. The declaration could mean that life in NZ will be back to pre-pandemic normal.
The country has reportedly had 1,504 cases and 22 deaths in the entire area. While having this only number compared to other neighboring countries, the PM has received praises for its rigorous approach in combating the virus.
During the announcement, Ardern gave a brief speech that filled the room with a victory. “While we’re in a safer, stronger position, there’s still no easy path back to pre-COVID life, but the determination and focus we have had on our health response will now be vested in our economic rebuild,” said PM Ardern.
She then added, “While the job is not done, there is no denying this is a milestone. So can I finish with a very simple, ‘Thank you, New Zealand.”
So, how did she do it?
On March 15, the nation established a mandatory quarantine for all inbound travellers, while still having a record of 6 COVID cases. Having constant situation monitoring since the start of the outbreak in Wuhan, the NZ’s infectious disease specialist team were already aware of the scale of the threat. They then immediately recommended a full lockdown once they had discovered that the virus had reached their shores.
On March 23, the country initiated a Level 3 lockdown, which meant that all non-essential businesses had to close temporarily, all events had to be cancelled, and domestic travel suspended. The next two days, New Zealand upgraded to a Level 4 lockdown, encouraging its people to only come into contact with those that they are residing.
Despite New Zealand’s victory, there are still opposition parties who have criticized Ardern’s decision to keep the restrictions for an additional two weeks without having added cases. But no matter how they criticized the Prime Minister’s ruling, it is still evident that New Zealand has gained a victory against the pandemic, at least for now.