WELLINGTON, New Zealand – After reducing the number of corona virus cases to zero in seven weeks – just having the second day in a row from no new cases – New Zealand carefully returned to business and even made several travel plans.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern won global acclaim for making a decision at the end of March to close the 5 million island nation for more than a month, when New Zealand had few cases of the corona virus. His government also introduced measures to protect the country’s economy, including subsidies for business, helping keep 1.6 million workers working. So far New Zealand has 1,137 COVID-19 cases and 20 deaths.
“I think the critical success factor in New Zealand is good science and great leadership working together, and you cannot succeed if you have it without the other,” professor Michael Baker, one of New Zealand’s public health experts, told VICE News.
“There is enormous Western arrogance about how we respond to this infection, almost a kind of strange feeling that will not occur in our country as it did in Asia. And viruses have other ideas, “he said.
With international travel that seemed uncertain for several months, the New Zealand government was exploring to form a travel bubble with neighboring Australia and the Pacific Islands, as it gradually reduced locking measures.
“If we can reach the point where we believe we have eliminated it … where we believe that generally it does not exist in our community, we want to work to have some sort of arrangement with Australia and potentially to the Pacific islands to see the movement of people, “said finance minister Grant Robertson.
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