September 25, 2020

New Zealand Responds to Covid-19

OKIATO, New Zealand — Since the start of the novel coronavirus pandemic, New Zealand has drawn global attention for the effectiveness of its response. But in recent weeks it has experienced an uptick in infections — even prompting President Trump to sneer at what he called its “big surge.”

Perhaps he’s just jealous. In fact, New Zealand’s response to the change in its fortunes offers a case study in how a responsible government should react to the pandemic. On Aug. 21, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern responded to Trump’s criticism without ever mentioning his name. New Zealand, she said, has one of the lowest rates of covid-19 in the world. The United States, she noted, has 16,563 cases per million people; New Zealand has 269.

New Zealand’s position as an isolated island country has undoubtedly helped it fend off the worst. Yet that’s not the only ingredient of its success. “One of the most important lessons we’ve learnt from overseas is the need to go hard and go early,” Ardern said on Aug. 11, as she informed the public of her government’s response to the country’s first case of community transmission in 102 days. Going hard and early was exactly what the New Zealand government proceeded to do. Read the article here.

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