New Zealand has reported that for four days straight, there was a decline in new coronavirus cases. It is an achievement that a lot of countries are wishing to have.
On April 8, New Zealand reported 29 new confirmed and probable cases, bringing the country's total to 1,239, including only one death. Out of the 1,239 cases, only 14 are in the hospital, and 317 have recovered. New Zealand is a small island country with a population of under 5 million. The country is halfway through a month-long lockdown, the lockdown was implemented to contain and eliminate the virus.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said that they are turning a corner and the people's commitment means that the government's plan is working. With the decline of new cases, the approach seems successful.
New Zealand sees success in stopping COVID-19
While Denmark, which has 5,597 cases and 218 deaths, announced that they will begin to lift the lockdown next week because the virus cases in their country is stable, New Zealand has a different approach. Prime Minister Ardern said that she was tightening border restrictions, which means that all those who arrive in the country will be required to spend at least two weeks quarantined in an approved facility instead of self-isolating at home.
However, this rule only applies to the citizens of New Zealand, as foreign nationals have been banned from entering the country since March 20. According to Ardern, she has no hesitation in saying that what New Zealanders have done over the last two weeks is huge, as the citizens listened to live and that the citizens of the country made the decision that together with the government, they could protect one another and the result was successful.
New Zealand's head-start
New Zealand has two key advantages, and they are time and geography. On February 28, the country confirmed its first case of coronavirus, a month after the United States confirmed its first case. On March 29, the country confirmed its first and only death.
According to Auckland University microbiologist Siouxsie Wiles, New Zealand had the advantage of being an island far from most other countries, with fewer flights than other places. That is something that Prime Minister Ardern also pointed out, as she noted that being an island was an advantage in their ability to eliminate the virus.
Professor Michael Baker, from Otago University's Public Health Department, said that New Zealand has carried out 51,165 tests to date. Meanwhile, the United Kingdom, a country with more people than New Zealand, had tested only 208,837 people. Baker expressed his disappointment over the leadership in countries like the US and the UK, as they are the countries that house some of the world's top science resources yet they were not able to use it to their advantage.
While UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson warned citizens that they should prepare to lose loved ones before their time, Prime Minister Arden was clear that she would value the citizens of New Zealand and not just the economy and she responded to the threat fast.
On March 14, when Ardern announced that anyone entering the country would need to self isolate for two weeks, it was among the toughest border restrictions in the world. And at the time, the country only had six cases. On March 19, Ardern banned foreigners from entering the country, and the confirmed cases then were 28.
On March 23, Ardern announced that the country was going into lockdown, there were already 102 confirmed cases then, and no deaths. According to Wiles, in New Zealand, they do not have a lot of intensive care beds compared to other countries. That is why Ardern acted fast, in order to save the lives of the citizens.