New Zealand has gone 100 days without recording a single case of community transmission of coronavirus, which is hard to imagine when compared to the battle Australia is facing.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern plunged her nation into one of the toughest lockdowns in the world in March and has since reaped the rewards with the last case of community broadcast on May 1st.
That was just 63 days after the five million island nation reported its first infection on February 28.
New Zealand has recorded 1,219 infections and 22 deaths since the pandemic began. The numbers are a drop in the bucket compared to other countries still grappling with thousands of cases and deaths.
Australia had reported 20,272 coronavirus cases on Friday, August 7th. The national death toll rose to 278 after Victoria recorded 466 infections and 12 new cases on Saturday. The state is grappling with a deadly second wave of infections attributable to alleged security breaches as part of its hotel quarantine program.
There are more than 19.2 million coronavirus cases worldwide and at least 719,800 people have died.
New Zealand spent 100 days without community transmission of coronavirus. Pictured: The nation's infections since March through August
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern (pictured) has been commended for handling the global pandemic by swiftly putting in place tough measures to eradicate the deadly virus
Pictured: Passengers wear protective masks and gloves at Auckland International Airport in April
New Zealand was strictly closed at the end of March to stop the spread of the coronavirus. Pictured: A view of the empty Lambton Quay in Wellington during the April lockdown
THREE MEASURES FOR NEW ZEALAND SUCCESS
- Closing the border to everyone except citizens, permanent residents and their families to prevent coronavirus invasion
- Strict lockdown to prevent COVID-19 from spreading within the community
- Ongoing control: testing, contact tracing and quarantine
Ms. Ardern has been commended for her handling of the global pandemic by rapidly putting in place tough measures to eradicate the deadly virus.
Three measures have been hailed as drivers of New Zealand's success: border controls, lockdowns and case-by-case controls.
Australia has used a similar method of suppression, but since then a second deadly wave of infections has struck Victoria – with cases creeping into New South Wales, Queensland and South Australia.
Ms. Ardern announced the "toughest border restrictions in any country in the world" in mid-March when she enforced compulsory self-isolation for all international arrivals. The country only had six coronavirus cases at the time of the announcement.
Less than a week later, on March 20th, Ms. Ardern closed the country's borders for the first time in New Zealand's history. The number of COVID-19 infections had risen to over 20.
New Zealand's borders remain closed to this day and only Kiwi citizens, permanent residents and their family members can enter the country.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern speaks during a formal welcome speech by Mihi Whakatau during a visit to the Cardrona Alpine Resort on June 26 at the start of the Queenstown ski season
Pictured: Seagulls take over Queen Street in the Auckland business district on March 26th during the lockdown
Wellington residents wear face masks when leaving a supermarket on March 24 after buying supplies the day before the country's lockdown
CORONAVIRUS IN NEW ZEALAND: A SCHEDULE
3 FEBRUARY: New Zealand bans travelers from China if the coronavirus outbreak occurs.
FEBRUARY 28: New Zealand records its first COVID-19 infection after a person returned from Iran in their sixties.
16 MARCH: All return travelers must self-isolate for 14 days.
MARCH, 20TH: Borders close to everyone except citizens, permanent residents and their families.
26TH OF MARCH: Level 4 Alert & # 39; Eliminate & # 39; begins. The residents have to stay at home.
APRIL 28: New Zealand falls on alert level 3.
May 14th: Alert level 2 begins.
June 9: New Zealand falls to alert level 1. Residents are urged to take precautionary measures.
AUGUST 9: 100 days with no community transmission of coronavirus.
Ms. Ardern continued to move quickly, declared a state of emergency for the fight against COVID-19 and put all residents on alert level 4 – "eliminate" on March 25th from 11:59 p.m.
All non-essential businesses and educational institutions had to close and Kiwis had to stay home for four weeks.
In the midst of the strict lockdown, Ms. Ardern said lives had been saved by following the "big" changes.
& # 39; The modeling that economist Rodney Jones had provided my office on the eve of the lockdown suggested that New Zealand was on a similar path to possibly Italy and Spain and that our 205 cases on March 25 without the Measures could have grown to over 10,000 by now. We have teamed up, ”she said on April 9th.
& # 39; And new models to be released later by Te Punaha Matatini suggest that the current controls at Alert Level 4 have already had a significant impact on new case numbers and we are on track to achieve their most optimistic scenario .
"We're turning a corner and your commitment means our plan is working."
Pictured: Police stop vehicles heading north on the State Highway at Warkworth in Auckland on April 9
New Zealand's "elimination" strategy
The government’s overall public health strategy in relation to the New Zealand COVID-19 pandemic is eradication. That said, applying a series of control measures to stop the transmission of COVID-19 in Aotearoa, New Zealand.
Eliminating does not mean permanently eradicating the virus from New Zealand. Rather, it is more confident that we have eliminated chains of transmission in our church.
It is accepted that this approach will be needed in the long term, i.e. for many months or more, depending on the emerging epidemiology and knowledge related to the disease and its management, as well as advances in the development of safe and effective treatments and / or vaccines .
SOURCE: New Zealand Government
Pictured: Auckland's highways are traffic-free as the COVID-19 lockdown takes effect
New Zealand switched to level 3 alert in late April and then to level 2 alert in May as coronavirus infections continued to decline.
Mr Ardern said eliminating does not mean zero cases.
& # 39; It means zero tolerance for cases. It means when a case comes up and we test it, contact it, isolate it and do so with the ambition that we eliminate it every time we see COVID-19, "she said.
"This is how we will keep our transfer rate below 1 and that is how we will continue to be successful."
Continuous case tracking has enabled New Zealand to prevent the spread of coronavirus in the community.
Pictured: A closed restaurant is seen in Christchurch, New Zealand on April 16
Ms. Ardern arrives May 7 for the government's COVID-19 update and media conference with Director General of Health, Dr. Ashley Bloomfield, to Parliament
How Australia and New Zealand lead the way in testing
Pay from Friday 7th August.
Population: 25.7 million
Population: 5.0 million
Population: 329.5 million
Population: 66.4 million
New Zealand entered Alert Level 1 at 11:59 p.m. on Monday June 8th. There were no active coronavirus cases in the country and it had been 40 days since it was broadcast by the community.
Last month, Ms. Ardern said the second outbreak in Victoria was a "cautionary story" to be learned from.
"It appears that their current outbreak is related to a managed isolation facility similar to the one we operate here," she said.
"That shows how quickly the virus can spread and go from under control to out of control, and that even the best of plans in a pandemic can still be at risk."
New Zealand has continued to report COVID-19 cases in returning travelers, but the infections have not made their way into the community. There were 23 active coronavirus infections on August 7th.
Otago Medical School epidemiologist Sir David Skegg said the likelihood of community transmission returning was "very high".
He told Newstalk ZB's Mike Hosking that it was likely that New Zealand would return to Level 2 Alert.
“But not next week or next month, I hope. This virus will be around for a long time, ”he said.
“It's only been a few months since everyone said it was going to be a short, sharp shock. But we've been talking here for probably years.
"Unfortunately the world is a different place and it is almost inevitable that sooner or later the virus will invade New Zealand."
Sir Skegg said New Zealand needed to identify cases quickly to avoid a Melbourne-type situation.
Victoria reported 466 new coronavirus cases on Saturday, marking the 34th day in a row with a three-digit increase.
Prime Minister Daniel Andrews said there are now 7,808 active infections across the state and 988 of them are healthcare workers – an increase of 140 from Friday.
There are 636 coronavirus patients in hospital, 44 in intensive care, and 29 of them are fighting for their lives on ventilators.
The latest numbers come after the state reported 450 infections on Friday, a dramatic drop from Wednesday's record of 750 cases.
Victoria reported 466 new coronavirus cases on Saturday, marking the 34th day in a row with a three-digit increase
On July 1, Prime Minister Daniel Andrews said genome sequencing traced a large proportion of coronavirus cases to hotel quarantine program violations
At least a significant number of Victoria's current second wave cases could be linked to the hotel quarantine program currently under investigation by a former top judge.
Brett Sutton, chief health officer, said he first learned of hotel quarantine issues from media reports, but didn't realize they were responsible for a "significant proportion" of second wave cases when genomic coverage came out.
It could never be clear whether hotel quarantine is entirely to blame. Prof. Sutton says it is impossible to tell if the state completely eliminated community transmission before the problems were discovered.
"We have genomics for many cases in Victoria right now," he said.
"There is no evidence of the original virus in the genome report, but we haven't tested all of them."
Not everyone can grow the virus, and a genetic fingerprint isn't always available even if the virus can be grown, which means evidence cannot be examined, he says.
"But where we do that there is evidence of viruses going back to February, March and April," said Prof. Sutton.
The $ 3 million hotel quarantine investigation cited by former family court judge Jennifer Coate is now set to begin August 17.
Mr Andrews did not answer questions about the investigation and said he wanted the government to be at a distance to avoid a "self-assessment".
Prime Minister Scott Morrison said a national dashboard of data investigating outbreaks at the national level has been updated with information from all states.
When asked if this modeling should be made public, he said the chief health officers are already transparent and provide a wealth of information every day.
On July 1, Andrews said genome sequencing had traced a large proportion of coronavirus cases to hotel quarantine program violations.
A highway sign on State Highway One says "Essential Travel Only".
New Zealand has four different alert levels amid the coronavirus pandemic
New Zealand COVID-19 alert levels
Stage 1: Prepare
Border entry measures to minimize the risk of importing COVID-19 cases
Strict self-isolation and quarantine
Intensive testing for COVID-19
Physical distancing is encouraged
Mass gatherings over 500 canceled
Stay home if you are sick and report flu-like symptoms
Wash and dry hands, cough in the elbows, do not touch the face
Level 3: Restrict
Travel in areas with limited cluster or community transmission
Affected educational institutions closed
Mass gatherings canceled
Closed public venues (e.g. libraries, museums, cinemas, food courts, gyms, pools, amusement parks)
Alternative working methods required and some non-essential businesses should be closed
Non-personal consultations on basic services
Non-acute (elective) services and procedures in hospitals are being postponed and health workers are being re-prioritized
Level 2: Reduce
Entry limit measures maximized
Other restrictions on mass gatherings
Physical distancing in public transport Do not restrict non-essential travel in New Zealand
Employers start with alternative working methods whenever possible
Business continuity plans activated
People at high risk were advised to stay home (e.g. people over 70 or people with other pre-existing medical conditions).
Level 4: Eliminate
People were told to stay at home
Educational institutions closed
Businesses closed, with the exception of essential services (e.g. supermarkets, pharmacies, clinics) and lifelines
Rationing of supplies and requesting facilities
Travel severely restricted
Major re-prioritization of health services
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