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Eliminated Zealand

How New Zealand ‘Eliminated’ Coronavirus – Forbes

TOPLINE

Due to a mixture of strict quarantine, travel restrictions and widespread testing, New Zealand has reported no new coronavirus cases for 17 days and has no active cases. The country plans to lift nearly all of its restrictions Tuesday.

New Zealand Government Considers Easing Of COVID Alert Level Restrictions

WELLINGTON, NEW ZEALAND – JUNE 08: Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern speaks to media during a post … [+] cabinet press conference at Parliament.


Photo by Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images

KEY FACTS

The last community-transmitted case occurred 40 days ago and New Zealand hospitals currently have no Covid-19 cases.

Beginning Tuesday, the country will allow schools and offices to reopen with no limitations on domestic travel or gathering size, though international travel remains restricted, per CNN

“This freedom from restrictions relies though heavily on the ongoing role that our border controls will play in keeping the virus out,” said Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern at a Monday press conference.”The virus will be in our world for some time to come.” 

New Zealand had one of the toughest and earliest lockdowns: With no deaths and just over 100 cases in mid-March, the country closed all non-essential businesses, schools (though children of essential workers were permitted to continue attending) and cancelled all gatherings and events. 

From March 24 to April 9 the country entered its strictest lockdown, allowing non-essential workers to only leave home for essential exercise within close proximity to their residences.

Adern also said that New Zealand has one of the highest testing rates per capita globally. 

Crucial Quote

“We are confident we have eliminated transmission of the virus in New Zealand for now, but elimination is not a point in time, it is a sustained effort,” said Ardern on June 7.

Key Background

Under the country’s reduction to Alert Level 1, citizens are not restricted in personal movements but are encouraged to “maintain a record of where they have been” and authorities will aim to carry out rapid contact tracing of any new cases that are identified. 

Further Reading

Alert system overview (New Zealand Government)

With no active Covid-19 cases, New Zealand is lifting almost all its coronavirus restrictions (CNN)

Coronavirus Infections Are On The Rise In 21 U.S. States, With Cases Spiking In California, Arizona And North Carolina (Forbes)

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claims Zealand

New Zealand claims ‘elimination’ of coronavirus with new cases in single digits – CNN

(CNN)New Zealand claimed Monday it had “eliminated” the coronavirus as the country announced the easing of restrictions from “level four” to “level three,” with new cases in single figures.

At a news conference, New Zealand reported one new case, four “probable cases” and one new death.
Ashley Bloomfield, New Zealand’s Director General of Health, said the low number “does give us confidence that we’ve achieved our goal of elimination, which — that never meant zero but it does mean we know where our cases are coming from.”
He added: “Our goal is elimination. And again, that doesn’t mean eradication but it means we get down to a small number of cases so that we are able to stamp out any cases and any outbreak that might come out.”
New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said the coronavirus was “currently” eliminated but that the country needed to remain alert and could still expect to continue to see new cases.
“So as we have said elimination means we may well reach zero but we may well then have small numbers of cases coming up again, that doesn’t mean we have failed, it just means that we are in the position to have that zero tolerance approach to have a very aggressive management of those cases and keep those numbers low and fading out again,” she said.
Ardern said that in the past few days, cases had been in the single digits, calling the numbers “incredible” while sending her sympathies to those who had lost loved-ones during the pandemic.
She praised the efforts of New Zealanders, saying: “It’s been nearly 5 weeks living and working in ways that just two months ago would have been impossible. But we did. And we have done it together.”
The “level three” alert that goes into effect at the start of Tuesday will allow businesses to partially reopen with some restrictions, including requiring physical distancing of two meters outside of home.
Schools are to reopen with limited capacity, and work such as manufacturing and forestry will resume, although people are encouraged to work from home unless that is not possible.
People will be able to buy takeaway food, and take part in low-risk recreational activities including swimming at the beach. Up to 10 people will be allowed to gather for weddings and funerals.
Public venues such as libraries, museums, gyms are still going to remain closed and the measures will be reassessed in two weeks on May 11.
According to Johns Hopkins University, New Zealand has a total of 1,469 confirmed novel coronavirus cases and 19 deaths.

What New Zealand did to contain the virus

New Zealand confirmed its first case of coronavirus on February 28, well over a month after the United States confirmed its first infection. On March 14, when the country had six cases, Ardern announced that anyone entering the country would need to self isolate for two weeks, which was at the time among the toughest border restrictions in the world. Foreign nationals were banned from entering the country on March 20.
On March 23 — when there were 102 confirmed cases, and no deaths — Ardern announced the country was entering “level 3” lockdown. Non-essential businesses were closed, events and gatherings canceled and schools closed to all children except those of essential workers.
Employers were told to allow working from home where possible, public transport was reserved for essential workers, and discretionary domestic air travel between regions was banned.
At midnight on March 25, New Zealand moved to the strictest level 4 lockdown, with people told not to leave home except for essential exercise near the home, while maintaining 2 meter distancing.
New Zealand also brought in widespread testing, with 123,920 carried out to date among a population of just under 5 million people. Ardern said on Monday that New Zealand had one of the highest testing rates per capita in the world, with the capacity to process up to 8,000 tests per day.
On April 9, despite a decline in cases, Ardern tightened border restrictions so that all citizens and permanent residents arriving in New Zealand were required to spend two weeks quarantined in an approved facility rather than at home.

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