New Zealand marks 100 days without community transmission of Covid-19

New Zealand marks 100 days without community transmission of Covid-19

NEW ZEALAND has marked its 100th day without community transmission of Covid-19. 

In a shining example to countries like Ireland, the achievement comes while other countries around the world are beginning to witness a resurgence in the virus. 

It’s a success that has seen Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern earn praise across the world. 

Since the virus first struck New Zealand in March of this year, the country has reported just 1,569 cases of Covid-19 and 22 deaths. 

Ireland, by comparison, has recorded 26,644 cases and 1,772 deaths, despite having a population similar to that of New Zealand. 

While case numbers had been consistently dropping in Ireland since the end of May, recent weeks have seen several major clusters emerge in meat factories and shared accommodation. 

The spike has prompted three counties -  Laois, Offaly and Kildare – to be placed back in lockdown for a minimum of two weeks.

How can Ireland follow New Zealand's example?

So how did New Zealand eliminate the virus – and how can Ireland do the same? 

From the first known case, imported into New Zealand on February 26, to the last case of community transmission detected on May 1, Ardern eliminated the virus in the space of just 65 days using a three-pronged approach. 

Firstly, New Zealand maintains strict border controls to stop Covid-19 from entering the country.  

Secondly, it has used strict lockdown and physical distancing rules to halt community transmission – rules which, crucially, the publice was careful to adhere to. 

Finally, cases were controlled using an effective mix of testing, contact tracing and quarantine. 

These measures have proven more effective than the suppression strategy witnessed in much of Europe and North America. 

What separates New Zealand from other regions where containment or elimination has been applied is the fact it set out a clear strategy early on and did not waver from it. 

With experts now calling for Ireland to focus more on elimination rather than suppression of Covid-19, a similar approach could be forthcoming in the Emerald Isle.  

However, it may already be too late and too drastic a change to make.