What does it takes to fight the pandemic like coronavirus and eradicate it to bring back the life for the country and its people? The answer is a sovereign country with a population of 48.9 lakhs, around 1,200 positive cases, 22 deaths, 100 days and the trust of the population in their Prime Minister.
The country of New Zealand has not seen any new cases for over two weeks as of 10th June 2020, the last person known to have the virus has recovered fully and is in the pink of health now, there are no people in the hospital being treated for the virus. “I did a little dance,” said Prime Minister Ardern as she declared New Zealand free of the atrocities of coronavirus on June 9th 2020.
The country has lifted all the domestic curbs, with only border controls as a precautionary measure. Public gatherings can now be held without any restrictions and Retail, Hospitality, Entertainment, Transport, Businesses are all returning to the pre-pandemic normality. The country has decided to move to national Alert Level 1 from the current Alert Level 2.
Despite the humongous amount of increasing cases all over the world with big nations like the United States and India being the worst hit, this country has proved to be a ray of hope for all the nations. The question here arises: What made the country strong enough to combat the virus while the big nations could not? New Zealand is a small yet a wealthy nation, with a population that is highly spread out, unlike India, the United States and other worst-hit countries where a huge mass of the population is contained in a single place ie. a higher population density.
The lower population density alone played a major role in managing the virus and taking care of the community spread. They adopted the elimination strategy to beat the virus, which is severely expensive and it’s the cost of implementation would be much higher for other bigger nations with higher population.
The Elimination strategy included eliminating the virus rather than just aiming to contain it or to just eradicate it.
Elimination of a disease refers to its absence at a national level and Eradication means it’s global extinction.
In this strategy, the main focus is on the unidentified cases and to stop them from spreading any further and to stop those unidentified cases to spread the virus on the population. Since Elimination strategy focused on the ‘chains of transmission’, it was implemented in the name of strict lockdown by the government.
The country’s geographical location also helped in its success and it has the ability to control the entry points as the country is much isolated in terms of its geography. However, Prime Minister Ardern believes that even though the spread has been halted as of now but following a pattern the country may see new cases in the future and for that, they are gearing up to be fully prepared. Nonetheless, this small country is a huge bounty of motivation and positivity that the world needed in such a desperate time.