With only 3 new cases and no known community transmission, New Zealand has declared Victory over the COVID-19 coronavirus.
Both New Zealand and Australia quickly locked down their borders, and neither country have seen the devastation that has affected other parts of the world.
New Zealand is made up of 2 islands, and what few travelers are allowed in must be quarantined for 14 days.
The measures in New Zealand resulted in just 19 deaths and 1,472 cases.
The country has been in a strict lockdown for over a month to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, but those conditions were eased a little Tuesday to allow some parts of the economy to restart as new infections wane.
Among those places to reopen were construction sites, as well as cafes and restaurants that sell takeout coffee and food. People are still required to maintain social distancing and work from home if they can.
“There is no widespread, undetected community transmission in New Zealand,” Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said Monday. “We have won that battle.“
Even though some restrictions were eased this week, Ardern warned, “I will not risk the gains we have made in the health of New Zealanders.”
Michael Baker, professor of public health at the University of Otago in Wellington, said Tuesday: “It is still a very intense scrutiny of physical distancing and travel restrictions, so it could be many weeks before we are back to normal.“
“It will be a long time before we can think about resuming contact with the rest of the world,” he added, and that will be only with countries that have also achieved elimination or have an effective vaccine or antivirals.
Dr. Baker did not rule out the possibility of the virus returning in Winter, which New Zealand will be entering soon, but added, “If we succeed with elimination . . . it cannot come back in Winter because it will not be here.”
Have a healthy day, Keep the Faith!