New Zealand eliminates COVID-19

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An aggressive approach has enabled New Zealand to end community transmission of SARS-CoV-2. Sophie Cousins reports.

New Zealand recorded its first day of no new cases of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) early this week, more than a month after its strict lockdown began.

At the time of publication, New Zealand had recorded fewer than 1500 confirmed cases of COVID-19, and 20 deaths. On March 23, a month after the country had recorded its first case, New Zealand committed to an elimination strategy. A few days later, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced a strict national lockdown when it only had 102 cases and zero deaths. Her swift decision making won international praise, including from WHO.

As New Zealand now eases its restrictions and its economy slowly reopens, there are discussions about how it can open up its borders while ensuring that everyone is protected, particularly susceptible populations.

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