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Wednesday, April 14, 2021

New Zealand eliminates coronavirus, lifts all restrictions

We Are The Champions, the New Zealanders must be singing this famous Queen song now. Well they deserve to! Because on Monday their Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern officially announced they have eradicated Covid-19 and the nation will return to normal life.

The announcement came after the country’s last active patient recovered. Though New Zealand will continue to follow isolation and quarantine for those coming from abroad.

The biggest achievement of the island country lies in eliminating community transmission. Much of the credit goes to Prime Minister Ardern who ensured early lockdown, aggressive testing, isolation and quarantine among other such measures to be followed quite meticulously. Hats off Ms Ardern!

“Today, I can announce that Cabinet has agreed, that we will now move to Level 1 to get our economy back to normal again. And we will start almost immediately,” Ardern said while addressing the media on Monday.

Like she does quite often, Ardern made a Facebook live, announcing her Cabinet’s discussions. You can clearly see the joy of beating the pathogen menace from her broad smiles.

So how did they do it?

Unlike other world leaders, Ardern never presented the situation as a “war to be won” before her countrymen, rather called for “united efforts” to overcome the crisis. Her clear vision and confident planning and implementation ensure the success.

The country of 5 million will now open restaurants, malls and public transport. It will also allow sports events, concerts and all similar public gatherings which came to a halt with the nationwide lockdown on March 23. Quite the same time India started its first phase of lockdown. However, things have turned out to be largely different since then in India and New Zealand in terms of the Covid-19 scenario. Sigh!

New Zeland’s quick response to the crisis is often hailed as an ideal model for the rest of the world. The government ordered two-month quarantine for anyone coming from abroad in March. Soon after that it announced one-month stay-at-home order for all New Zealanders. As cases picked up early April, the government began aggressive testing and contact tracing. The testing facility was easily available for anyone and everyone. In the following weeks, cases started to die down. By May end, New Zealand reported just one active Covid-19 case.

Along with NZ, several other countries have fought the successfully with their effective strategies. Some of them are Finland, Iceland, Norway, Montenegro, Germany, Denmark, Papua New Guinea, Seychelles and Holy See among others.

New Zealand
A general view of Auckland and the Sky Tower from Mount Eden looking towards North Shore. Experts believe that the nation’s isolated geographical location helped prevent the virus spread. Photo: Shutterstock

Still quite alert

Though they achieved quite a huge success, still the government asked all its countrymen to ensure high standards of personal hygiene. Keeping the elderly and the sick at home and keeping a record of travel history are some important measures the island country will continue to follow.

New Zealand will still keep its international borders sealed considering the ongoing pandemic. However, the authorities concerned are thinking of opening partial travel scopes with neighboring Australia which has also brought the Covid-19 crisis under control.

It’s party time!

The PM on Monday said she was so happy to hear the news that there were no active Covid-19 patients in her country, she “danced a little” around her daughter Neve, who will turn 2 years this month. Now this makes us go “aww”.

“She was caught by a little surprise but she joined in, having absolutely no idea why I was dancing around the lounge but enjoying it nonetheless,” the Prime Minister said. All we can say “you rock mommy”!

New Zealand’s director-general of health Ashley Bloomfield, who was leading the Covid-19 crisis in the country, said though he is not as good a dancer as the PM, but he shared a smile after he heard the news of no active Covid-19 patients.

New Zealand recorded just over 1500 Covid-19 cases, of them 22 died. The Prime Minister said even if cases arrive in future, they’re fully prepared to combat the pathogen.

We have one word for you Ms Ardern and that is Respect.



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