by KATHLEEN FITZPATRICK '23
As of September 29, 2020, New Zealand has had 1,835 total cases of COVID-19, with 1,755 recoveries. Compare this to the 7.19M cases in the United States, and one can see how effective New Zealand has been at containing the virus. New Zealand’s success isn’t only stark in comparison to the US, the effectiveness of their COVID response is unparalleled by any other nation. However, the reasoning behind this great feat is quite simple. The New Zealand government responded to the spread of COVID-19 immediately, with preventative measures being put in place as early as January 24.
On this date, New Zealand's Ministry of Health set up a team to monitor the situation. By February 3, foreign nationals were prevented from entering the country from mainland China and those who could enter the country were required to self-isolate themselves for 14 days. On March 25, Alert Level 4 was put in place, essentially putting the nation into lockdown. New Zealand’s lockdown measures included the closing of all educational facilities, the shuttering of all non-essential businesses, severe limitation of travel, and a stay at home order. This strict lockdown lasted 5 weeks, after which Alert Level 3 was put into place and so on (for more information on New Zealand’s Alert System go to https://covid19.govt.nz/alert-system).
In summary, New Zealand contained COVID-19 so effectively because of their efficiency at taking action, and the strict nature in which action was taken. Their government handled the situation with poise and authority. New Zealand is currently on Alert Level 2 and as of September 29, has 2 active cases.