New Zealand, led by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, is among the few nations in the world that has been successful in containing and curbing the spread of the coronavirus. Just last month, their government imposed stringent lockdowns over a single case of Covid19.
The nation has had its fair share of criticisms from its own constituents, mostly due to the slow inoculation rate; however they had been able to control virus transmission through aggressive contact tracing, isolation and treatment.
“We were among the last countries in the world to have the Delta variant in our community…but Covid is very tricky, very hard and it’s all a matter of how we respond once we find it. And New Zealand…we’ve always had our way of responding–go hard, go early because it’s much better than going light and long,” Ardern said.
In June of last year, New Zealand declared itself officially Covid-free while in the Philippines, presidential adviser Harry Roque said that their success was hard to replicate because the Philippines had a much larger population.
However, there are those who say that population alone was not the reason, rather government foresight and leadership.
In February also last year, New Zealand blocked flights from China—where the outbreaks originated—and immediately announced that the country was under Alert Level 4. In contrast, the Philippines banned flights on January 31, but only after the first Covid19 case in the country had appeared.
Health secretary Francisco Duque III explained this by saying that the flight ban would have caused political and diplomatic issues.
New Zealand also had clear quarantine classifications which defined what could or could not be done, quite the opposite of the Philippine government’s style of policymaking and confusing announcements.
Most recently, the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases had come up with the granular lockdown system, with four alert levels, which had begun its test run in Metro Manila on September 16.
However, its implementation was originally scheduled to begin on September 8, but on the night of September 7, the government backtracked and announced that they would instead implement in one week later. This left businesses that have already begun preparations up in arms.
At present, New Zealand is easing restrictions once again after their cases have gone down. All signs point to the latest outbreak being contained.