New Zealand has startled the world with its stringent response towards COVID-19. The country was recently entirely free from COVID-19 infections. However, due to the recent concerns over the rapid spread of the Delta variant, New Zealand decided to go into a nationwide three-day lockdown after seeing its first community transmission case.
The First Delta Case in New Zealand
This single case of COVID-19 happens to be an unvaccinated man in his 50s living in Auckland. It is said that the man was infected ever since August 12, and hence, there are legitimate concerns that the people around him may have contracted the virus. The man is said to have visited a crowded pub on a Sunday to watch rugby.
The Three-Day Lockdown
The lockdown was announced on August 17, and it took effect immediately at midnight. New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Arden stated that an approach of urgency and ‘go hard and go early’ is the best way to curb the spread of infections. She expressed that this approach is preferable to a light approach and repeated long lockdowns.
New Zealand’s Vaccination Drive
The country is still not up to speed with its vaccination drive. A huge percent of the population remains still unvaccinated. People are still prone to getting the virus, and they may not have the ability to fight it off as there will be low antibodies present in them.
This is because the country has had a very low infection rate with only 26 covid related deaths. However, the rollout of the vaccine at this slow pace is likely to pose a potential threat to New Zealand and set it back in terms of the economy.
New Zealand’s Approach
New Zealand’s approach is that of ‘Covid Zero,’ which means that it will place strict restrictions on international travel and border control. It is also rigorous in testing as many people as possible in order to eliminate the possibility of community transmission.
Since the first delta infection case, there have now been six more cases in the country. The suspicion is that the infection might have possibly come through Australia or New South Wales. Hence, all the returnees from these countries are now mandated to provide proof of a negative pre-departure test.
After its effective response to the rise of infections in 2020, the country was looking forward to reviving its economy and getting back on its feet again. Ardern has reassured the people that the Government is doing its best, that the information is in level four, and that the measures will undoubtedly be effective. The Government is currently attempting to identify the source of the virus in order to take effective action. Arden is quite optimistic that the country will be back to normal soon.