PM Jacinda Ardern takes decisive action to tackle the pandemic.
On August 9, New Zealand marked its 100th consecutive day without the domestic transmission of Coronavirus. The strict lockdown in March 2020 saw the implementation of tight border restrictions – only New Zealand nationals have been able to enter the country.
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern took decisive action early on, closing the border after only 100 Covid-19 cases were confirmed in the South Pacific nation. On the country’s efforts to prevent the spread of the virus, Ardern commented that we are “confident we have eliminated the transmission of the virus in New Zealand for now.”
In total, the country has recorded 1,219 confirmed cases of Covid-19, including 21 active cases. All new cases identified have come from abroad – as of current, all infected individuals are being treated in isolated facilities. So far, of the 5 million civilians that live in New Zealand, 22 have died from the virus.
New Zealand’s Effective Strategy to Combat the Virus Spread
Ardern has remarked that the nation was able to control the spread of Covid-19 with a “go hard, and go early” attitude. New Zealand began a strict lockdown on the 23rd of March for 5 weeks – no beaches, no take out food, no leaving the vicinity of your neighborhood. This first phase, which carried on for an additional two weeks, focused on the “elimination” of the virus, according to the Ministry of Health’s website.
“Elimination does not mean eradicating the virus permanently from New Zealand; rather it is being confident we have eliminated chains of transmission in our community for at least 28 days and can effectively contain any future imported cases from overseas,” the New Zealand Ministry of Health suggested.
Administering thousands of tests every day have been integral to the PM’s strategy to identify, isolate, and cure civilians infected with the deadly virus. By June 8, 40,000 Covid-19 tests had been administered across New Zealand, yielding zero Covid-19 positive results for 17 days in a row.
Since lockdown restrictions were lifted in June, New Zealand has nearly returned back to normal, although local officials are remaining cautious. On August 6, Director-General of Health Dr. Ashley Bloomfield stressed the importance of having a back-up plan in case an internal outbreak crops up again.
“We have seen overseas how quickly the virus can reemerge and spread in places where it was previously under control … We need to be prepared to quickly stamp out any future cases in New Zealand. Don’t let the team down – none of us can afford to do that,” Bloomfield said.
In a television broadcast, Bloomfield additionally warned civilians to prepare for future Covid-19 outbreaks, recommending they purchase masks. On a potential outbreak, Bloomfield commented: “It’s a matter of when, not if … We’re working on the basis that it could be at anytime.”