NEW ZEALAND reported its first Covid-19 case in late February. The government lead by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern was quick to recognize the threat of the virus and reacted swiftly and effectively. The nation with a population of 5 million was very well educated about the effects of the Coronavirus. The website of the NEW ZEALAND government unit for recovery.govt.NZ clearly explains what rules and regulations were to be followed by the citizens. 15th of march New Zealand had reported 100 cases with no deaths, the Prime Minister announced a nationwide complete lockdown and a four-level-alert-system.
The island nation underwent 75 days of strict lockdown with all shops, malls, restaurants, and public places closed. FOUR-LEVEL-ALERT-SYSTEM • ALERT LEVEL 4-LOCKDOWN: This alert level was brought into effect on the 25th of March and NEW ZEALAND stayed in this alert level till the 24th of April. This alert level suggests the virus is at the peak and there is a high risk of community transmission ALERT LEVEL 3-RESTRICT: This level was introduced on 27th of April, the lockdown was eased, Small businesses were allowed to open. • ALERT LEVEL 2- REDUCE: Level 2 came into force on the 13th of May, public places were opened under guidelines of maintaining Social distancing norms. People could reconnect with family and friends ALERT LEVEL 1-PREPARE: All restrictions were eased on the 8th of June. New Zealand reported 0 active cases of Coronavirus.
The rates of testing are very essential when it comes to the community spread stage of the virus. The more people tested the greater is the chances of understanding the spread of the virus. Corona Virus also has asymptomatic cases that are difficult to trace as the patients don’t show any symptoms but are risking the spread of the virus to the people nearby. This is one of the main reasons of community transmission. New Zealand increased its testing capacity to about 8000 tests per day. In total it has tested around 2,95,000 people. Due to efficient testing, the per capita testing rates of New Zealand are better than most countries.
The medical facilities in New Zealand were well equipped with the requirements for treating patients with all needs of PPE kits, oxygen cylinders, and ventilators. There are 40 public hospitals in New Zealand and around 180 private hospitals. Most of which are situated in densely populated cities like Auckland.
Being an Island nation New Zealand was handed the advantage of being isolated. The only way into the country is through airways. The government on the 10th of March decided to stop all international flights and sealed all their borders. The citizens returning from other countries are asked to go into strict and surveillance quarantine for 14 days. As of now, the borders remain sealed but they are hoping to open it for Australia once they contain the virus.
Just like all the powerful nations in the world are facing an economic crisis New Zealand also faced the downfall in their economy. Due to the lockdown the daily wage workers, middle class, and the poor of New Zealand faced economic problems. The economy affects all the walks of life and with the complete lockdown the Nz government came up with a solution for this crisis. The government announced a relief package that was a total of 4% of the country’s GDP. Life is back to normal in NZ with all the small industries to big companies back up and running but like any other nation the stabilization of economy will take time and this economic reform looked very important for a nation like New Zealand.
New Zealand is a nation with a population of 5 million, it may be far less compared to the other nations but the citizens showed great will by maintaining social distancing. This victory against the coronavirus is due to the combined effort of the government and the citizens who followed and abided by the guidelines. As a celebration people attended a RUGBY game on the 14th of June at the FORSYTH BARR stadium and it was a full house!! And if you are wondering who won? NEW ZEALAND WON!