How New Zealand stamped out Covid-19 in 10 days

How New Zealand stamped out Covid-19 in 10 days 2

It’s been almost two weeks since New Zealand imposed a lockdown so strict that activities like swimming or hunting were banned.

People just walk or bike around their neighborhoods, stand in lines nearly 6 feet apart outside grocery stores to wait for others to finish shopping, and apply a home-schooling model for students.

The bustling financial district of Wellington was empty on March 26.

This approach of the New Zealand government is described as `suppressing the epidemic`, instead of containing the epidemic and `flattening the curve` like the strategy of the US and many Western countries.

Although the country conducts a large-scale testing program, the number of new infections has decreased for two consecutive days, with only 54 new infected and suspected cases reported on April 7.

`These are optimistic signs,` said Ashley Bloomfield, director general of the health agency of the New Zealand Ministry of Health.

These promising results have led many to call for the government to relax the lockdown, even if just a little, over the four-day Easter holiday, especially as summer still lingers.

A month ago, Anna Fifield, Beijing bureau chief of the Washington Post, returned to New Zealand from the epidemic center in China after passing through hot spot South Korea.

New Zealand is a country whose economy depends mainly on tourism, welcoming about 4 million international visitors each year, nearly equal to its total population, approximately 4.8 million people.

Two days later, Prime Minister Ardern gave a televised speech, announcing a 4-level plan to cope with Covid-19, of which the complete blockade was level 4.

How New Zealand stamped out Covid-19 in 10 days

Prime Minister Ardern announced New Zealand’s border closure plan on March 14.

The next day, a group of influential leaders called Prime Minister Ardern to call for the highest level declaration.

`We are really worried about what happens in Italy and Spain. If we don’t blockade quickly, the pain from Covid-19 will last longer. Blockade is something we cannot avoid, due to

On March 23, Prime Minister Ardern issued another statement and gave a 48-hour deadline to prepare for level 4 blockade. `We currently record 102 cases of infection. But Italy was also like that,` she said.

From the night of March 25, a level 4 blockade took effect, all people must stay at home for 4 weeks and can only go out to go to the supermarket or exercise near home, except for those working in the medical field.

`A few hours before that night, my phone had a text message: ‘Act as if you have nCoV. It will help save people’s lives. Let’s all work together to defeat Covid-19.

Right from the start of the epidemic, Ms. Ardern and her team of advisors issued a short and simple message: Stay home.

New Zealand’s Prime Minister continually repeats this message in press conferences on everything from vegetable prices to wage subsidies.

However, it is not without those who oppose the lockdown and break the law.

But it seems that most New Zealanders are united in the fight against the epidemic.

New Zealand’s efforts have paid off, after peaking with 89 cases on April 2, the daily number of people infected with nCoV has decreased to 67 cases on April 6 and 54 cases on April 7.

New Zealand’s health system is not facing overload, as there is little evidence that nCoV is spreading in the community in the country.

Being able to contain the epidemic in its early stages represents a `triumph of science and leadership`, according to Michael Baker, professor of public health at the University of Otago and a leading epidemiologist.

`Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has taken a drastic and decisive approach in the face of this threat. Other countries have responded to the epidemic at an increasing level, but we have done the opposite,` said Baker, a supporter of the pandemic.

He further explained that while Western countries try to slow down the spread of the epidemic and `flatten the curve` of Covid-19, New Zealand tries to `completely suppress the epidemic`.

As a small island nation, New Zealand could easily close its borders.

How New Zealand stamped out Covid-19 in 10 days

A cyclist on the Auckland coast on March 26.

However, New Zealand’s next challenge is once they stamp out Covid-19, how will they keep the epidemic from breaking out again.

Prime Minister Ardern said her government is considering mandatory quarantine for New Zealanders returning home after the blockade period.

Thanh Tam (According to Washington Post)

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