New Zealand claims to be the first nation that has beaten Coronavirus, at least for the most part.
On Monday, the island nation’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern made a public announcement touting their success over the virus on a grand scale. According to Ardern and her team, New Zealand has no active cases of the novel Coronavirus that has caused such hysteria and chaos in the past few months.
Furthermore, it has seen no new cases reported in over two weeks. During those 17 days, over 40,000 residents were tested, and not a single one came back positive. This most recent round of testing in the Kiwi nation brings the total number of completed COVID-19 tests to 300,000. The last known confirmed case had just been reported as recovered completely.
And that means the nation can begin rebuilding and reopening.
According to news outlet, Stuff, Ardern told the press and the world, “Today, I can announce that the Cabinet has agreed we will now move to level 1 to get our economy fully open again.”
So what exactly does this mean for the nation and its economy? What does Level 1 look like for New Zealand?
Well, according to Ardern, it means that almost everything can go back to normal.
She says, “We can hold public events without limitations. Private events such as weddings, functions, and funerals without limitations.” Ardern continued, “Retail is back without limitations. Hospitality is back without limitations. Public transport and travel across the country is fully opened.”
However, the one thing that will not be opening back up is the nation’s borders. No one but citizens and residents will be allowed to enter the country. And for those, they will be required to self-quarantine for at least two weeks once they have legally crossed the border.
Ardern explained that she was not “willing to tolerate risk at our border.” At least not yet.
Prime Minister Ardern and her team are no fools, though. While they are taking the opportunity to begin to rebuild what they have lost over the past few months, Arden knows that this is not the end of the pandemic and, if not careful, their victory will be short-lived.
She told the press, “We are confident we have eliminated the transmission of the virus in New Zealand for now, but elimination is not a point in time, it is a sustained effort.”
She added, “We almost certainly will see cases here again, and I do want to say that again, we will almost certainly see cases here again, and that is not a sign that we have failed, it is a reality of this virus. But if and when that occurs, we have to make sure – and we are – that we are prepared.”
Hence the borders remaining closed.
New Zealand, in the grand scheme of things, has gotten off relatively easy when it comes to COVID-19. Out of its population of 5 million, there have been only 1,504 cases nationwide. And only 22 deaths.
Much of their success with the virus and their low amount of confirmed cases has to do with their geographical location, and of course, their size. Set off the beaten path to the southwest of Australia and isolated by water on all sides, the island nation was far enough away to see the spread of the virus and get prepared.
This gave Ardern and her staff time to shut the nation down fairly early, imposing strict lockdowns that kept her citizens safe.
According to worldometers.info, New Zealand’s number of cases per capita or per 1 million people is just 301, much less than that of the United States, which as 6,115 cases per million.
However, it is interesting to note that while New Zealand’s numbers are significantly smaller, China, according to its number of cases per capita, is even lower, coming in at just 58 cases per million in a nation with about 1.4 billion.
Anyone else finding that somewhat hard to believe? Yeah, I thought so.
Anyway, back to New Zealand…
Ardern admitted that the road to normalcy, at least we knew it, would be a tough one, if not nearly impossible. She said, “While we’re in a safer, stronger position, there’s still no easy path back to pre-COVID life.”
And she is most certainly correct.
But at least they can begin to rebuild.