The battle against the novel coronavirus in New Zealand is over and Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has declared herself (and the people of her island nation) the victors. The last known patient who tested positive for COVID-19 has recovered and it’s been more than two weeks since the last new case was reported. Since that’s probably outside the maximum incubation period, they may very well have eliminated the virus entirely from the islands, barring some unreported cases in very remote areas. And even those would be unlikely to spur a major flareup if they exist in low-population regions. So now the PM gets to take a victory lap. (Associated Press)
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said Monday she was confident New Zealand has halted the spread of the coronavirus after the last known infected person in the country recovered.
It has been 17 days since the last new case was reported, while 40,000 have been tested in that time. And Monday also marked the first time since late February that there have been no active cases.
Ardern also announced the Cabinet had agreed to another phase of the country’s reopening, to take place at midnight.
“We are confident we have eliminated transmission of the virus in New Zealand for now, but elimination is not a point in time, it is a sustained effort,” she said at a news conference.
As I said above, there’s no reason to doubt the numbers that New Zealand is putting out, even when the number is zero. If they did miss a few people out in the jungle, that’s understandable and shouldn’t prove to be much of a problem going forward. So is that it? Ardern’s strategy of ultimate lockdown and confinement worked?