Wednesday, July 8, 2020

New Zealand's Different Approach to Covid-19

Environmental & Science Education
Edward Hessler

I start with the money quote.

On 28 February 2020, New Zealand recorded its first case of Covid-19.  

The government's Covid-19 advisory panel first thought the best response was to gradually tighten control measures but member Dr. Michael Baker, an epidemiologist at the University of Otago thought this was the wrong approach. “I thought we should do it in the reverse order and throw everything at the pandemic at the start.” 

New Zealand's government made the decision to follow his advice--while the reason is not known he has an excellent track record, and "implemented one of the strictest lockdowns in the world, only permitting people to leave their homes for essential reasons like buying food and going to the doctor. This followed the closure of New Zealand’s borders to non-nationals on 19 March."

The country has recorded 1515 Covid-19 cases and 22 deaths with no "new locally acquired cases since 22 May. The current active cases (2) are all citizens in supervised quarantine after returning from overseas."  All restrictions "except for its border control control restrictions," have been lifted.

And for the nation, its government and especially Dr. Baker a sense of relief but he still thinks "masks should be worn on public transport, aircraft and at border control and quarantine facilities."

 Alice Klein reports this story in the NewScientist (23 June 2020).

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