While most countries are working on ways to contain the coronavirus, New Zealand has set itself a much more ambitious goal: eliminating it altogether. And experts believe the country could pull it off.
The virus “doesn’t have superpowers,” said Helen Petousis-Harris, a vaccine expert at the University of Auckland. “Once transmission is stopped, it’s gone.”
Geography has helped. If any place could be described as socially distant it would be New Zealand, surrounded by stormy seas, with Antarctica to the south. With 5 million people spread across an area the size of Britain, even the cities aren’t overly crowded.
“We have the opportunity to do something no other country has achieved: elimination of the virus,” Ardern told reporters last week. “But it will continue to need a team of 5 million behind it.”