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How New Zealand Eliminated Coronavirus? What We Can Learn From Them?

Vivek Verma
Vivek Verma

Lockdowns imposed by Governments have been the topics of discussion in various countries. The debate is between Human toll vs Economic toll of coronavirus. More than 6 million cases are already recorded till date around the world.

But in New Zealand, 4.8 million people are slowly coming out from life in lockdown. New Zealand recorded zero new cases and if the govt. claims are to be believed then the spreading of the COVID-19 virus has stopped.  

The “Go Hard or Go Early” policy seemingly has worked for ‘Kiwis’. In May, the Prime Minister of New Zealand, Jacinda Ardern have relaxed the lockdown from phase 4 to phase 3. However she cautioned that stopping of community transmission should not encourage people of New Zealand to not follow rules.

Also Read: Coronavirus: Vitamin D could Prevent COVID-19 or Give a Survival Advantage to Patients?

What bold and strict decisions New Zealand took to fight COVID-19?

To answer this, let’s look how the government acted and how people reacted?

• The government of New Zealand acted quickly and decisively as Coronavirus started to spread in the country. These decisions came when infection numbers were just started to rise. International and local borders were shut immediately and Prime Minister Arden announced emergency measures. At that time going to a complete lockdown at such an early stage was a bold decision.

• The restrictions included no car travels unless for food or medicine, no meetings outside your house. Further, there were mandatory quarantines for all visitors from March 15. These decisions came when there were only 6 active cases in the country.

• Prime Minister Arden continued to do daily press conferences to communicate with the people. She told about the situation in the country in clear and concise way. The things she said became catch phrases. “We must go hard, and we must go early.” And “We only have 102 cases, but so did Italy once.” are some of the popular ones.

• The level 4 restrictions that were imposed meant only grocery stores, pharmacies, hospitals, and petrol stations were allowed to open. This approach by the prime minister in early days seemed authoritarian but proved to be effective.

• The media coverage in New Zealand showed every single loss of life individually. This was totally opposite to what was and is happening around the world. The dead people from the virus were and are just numbers all around the world.

How people of the New Zealand reacted to these decisions and restrictions?

This is where the game changed in favor of New Zealand. After the announcement of the lockdown, the whole country simply got on board. The Highways and streets were empty on the first day of lockdown. The shops, restaurants, pubs, movie theaters all were closed. Literally everyone stayed home. The ‘Kiwis’ completely trusted their leaders. The people of New Zealand did not complain or protested. They simply followed the rules.

When all people were in lockdown, the health minister of New Zealand took his family for a ride on the beach. He was immediately demoted by Prime Minister Arden. She said “I expected better, and so does New Zealand”.

The Result:

1. The plans of the government have worked because of the efforts of the people. No new cases of Coronavirus have been reported in the country for straight 10th day. The restrictions have been relaxed to phase 4 to phase 3.

2. With so close to eliminating the COVID-19 virus completely, New Zealand may be the first major country to experience the new normal and post pandemic life.

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