WELLINGTON: Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern on Monday claimed New Zealand had scored a significant victory against the spread of the coronavirus, as the country began a phased exit from lockdown.
“There is no widespread, undetected community transmission in New Zealand,” Ardern declared. “We have won that battle.”
How did they do it?
After nearly five weeks at the the most severe response, level four of COVID-19 response system – with only essential services operating – the country will move to Level Three late on Monday.
This is a decision taken to slow the virus and to save lives.
The lockdown was put into action at an early stage of the global pandemic. The country closed its borders that helped stop cases being imported from overseas
It traced and tested the people and confirmed cases were put in quarantine early until the incubation period has passed. They were again tested for the virus.
The ‘Bubble’ approach make people less restricted to their households and less tempted to break the rules.
But Ardern warned there was no certainty about when all transmission can be eliminated, allowing a return to normal life.
Everyone wants to “bring back the social contact that we all miss”, she said, “but to do it confidently we need to move slowly and we need to move cautiously.”
“I will not risk the gains we’ve made in the health of New Zealanders. So if we need to remain at Level Three, we will.”
The easing of restrictions came as New Zealand, a nation of five million people, reported only one new case of COVID-19 in the past 24 hours, taking the total to 1,122 with 19 deaths.