There’s some good news in the coronavirus world! One country is reporting they have virtually eliminated the virus, thanks to careful planning by the government, and citizens who, you know, follow the rules even if it inconveniences them.
With cases now only in the single digits, New Zealand is reporting it has “eliminated” the virus, so they are easing their restrictions from “level four” to “level three.” Here is what encompasses the country’s various levels.
New Zealand’s Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern, has been praised on how she and her team have been working to keep the virus at bay. They locked the country down to all foreigners in mid-March. All citizens who came from overseas immediately went into 2-week quarantine in NZ hotels (and apparently lived the good life!). They’ve had one of the highest testing rates per capita in the world. They introduced an alert system early on, and put the country on total lockdown less than a month after the first case occurred there. Citizens initially resisted but then complied, partially because the information they received from officials at every level was consistent.
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.”
If numbers continue to stay decreased, the NZ government will consider dropping down to Level 2.
Thanks to their successful work, New Zealand’s transmission rate was only 0.4 (in the rest of the world, the average number of people those with the virus spread it to is 2.5). In total, the country of not quite 5 million has had less than 1,500 cases (or roughly 1 in every 3,300 people). To put that into perspective, the U.S. has approx. 328,000,000 people and just shy 1,000,000 cases (that’s 1 in every 337 people; over TEN TIMES worse).
New Zealand’s closest neighbor, Australia, has also been working hard to keep their numbers down, with excellent results. The New York Times posted a very informative article with the specifics of how both countries, one with a very conservative leader, one with a very progressive one, are each succeeding.
If Australia and New Zealand can both keep their countries nearly free of the virus, they will definitely be ahead of the curve (and, frankly, the rest of us) until a vaccine is available.
Of course, their biggest fear until then would probably be visitors from other countries who could bring the virus with them.
Australia has already said they will most likely maintain a ban on foreign travelers until 2021. New Zealand currently bans foreigners from entering the country and although it doesn’t have a time frame of when it will open its borders again, it’s sure to also be in the further-out future. However, there is some talk of Australians and Kiwis being able to travel between the two countries, assuming both remain with few cases.
But for the rest of us? It’s probably going to be a long time before we can see either country in person.
Feature Photo (altered): U.S. Army
#stayhealthy #stayathome #washyourhands
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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary