COVID-19 is a new type of coronavirus that can affect your lungs and airways. Coronaviruses are a large and diverse family of viruses which cause illnesses such as the common cold. The most recent diseases caused by it include severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and the Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS).
Timeframe of COVID-19 in New Zealand
Initial steps (January-February)
- The first case of Coronavirus (COVID-19) in New Zealand was reported on 28th of February 2020. Although the first case was in February on 28th of January, the “Ministry of Health” in New Zealand established “National Health Coordination Centre (NHCC)” in reaction to the outbreak of Coronavirus across world, also an “Infectious and Notifiable Diseases Order” was issued for health practitioners to report any suspected cases.
- On 3rd of February 2020, New Zealand government declared that they have prohibited the entry of any foreign traveller from China and only New Zealand citizens as well as permanent residents and their family members were allowed to enter.
- Various educational institutions in New Zealand asked the government to exclude China students from prohibition who are entering here to study.
- On 7th of February 2020, New Zealand, The Ministry of Health created a dedicated Healthline (just like a helpline) freephone(toll-free) number for COVID-19 related cases only.
First Case (February)
On 28th of February 2020, New Zealand confirmed it’s the first case of Coronavirus of a New Zealand citizen (in her 60s) who lately visited Iran and arrived in Auckland, New Zealand on 26th of February 2020. She was tested two times for COVID-19 and the test results were negative but when a third test was performed with a particular sample, she was tested affirmative for COVID-19. She was immediately hospitalized in Auckland City Hospital.
With this first case of Coronavirus, New Zealand became the 48th country to have Coronavirus.
On 28th of February 2020, the government prohibited the entry of travellers from Iran as well (before it was for China only).
Outspread Of COVID-19 (March-May)
From the month of March, there was the outburst of Coronavirus cases in New Zealand with people testing positive travelling from different countries like Italy, Singapore, United States of America, Germany, etc. Even cases from within the cities in New Zealand were reported like Palmerston North, Wellington (capital city), Waikato, Christchurch, Invercargill and many more cities across whole New Zealand.
At the end of the month of March, there were a total of 647 cases reported, in the month of April total 1476 cases were registered and in the month of May, the total reached 1504 cases. The total death toll of all months was 22.
Response of Government to the outspread (March-June)
On 14th of March 2020, the first anniversary of “Christchurch mosque shooting” (a national remembrance service was going to be held for the people who died in the mass shooting) was cancelled due to risk of spreading of Coronavirus among whole nation.
On the same day New Zealand Prime Minister “Jacinda Ardern” announced that the travellers who were arriving in or returning to New Zealand from outside of the country must quarantine(self-isolate) themselves for 14 days.
On 16th of March 2020, Ardern stated halt to a public gathering of more than 500 people and warned the citizens that the COVID-19 outbreak can lead to a recession greater than the “2008 global financial crisis” (Period of Great Recession).
On 17th of March 2020, Health Minister of New Zealand “David Clark” announced that the government will forcefully deport foreign tourist who will not abide the self-isolate 14 days rule. On the same day, Immigration New Zealand service placed two foreign tourists into forced quarantine for not following the self-isolate 14 days rule, also they were ordered to leave New Zealand after their two-week quarantine.
Finance Minister of New Zealand “Grant Robertson” declared a 12 billion dollars COVID-19 package that encompassed:
- 8.7 billion dollars for Businesses and Jobs.
- 2.8 billion dollars for Income Support
- 500 million dollars for Health
- 600 million dollars for the Aviation Sector and to support Supply Chains.
On 18th of March 2020, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT) of New Zealand urged all New Zealand citizens who were travelling abroad to return home as soon as possible. The returning New Zealanders were also requested to abide 14 days self-isolation rule.
On 19th of March 2020, the Government announced the prohibition of indoor gathering of more than 100 people. Prime Minister on the same day declared the closure of New Zealand borders to all (excluding New Zealand citizens and residents).
The Alert System
On 21st of March Prime Minister “Jacinda Ardern”, announced a countrywide alert system to deal with the coronavirus outbreak. There were fours levels included in the system with level 1 being the least risk of infection and level 4 the highest. Those who had weak immune system were advised to stay at home. At the time of Ardern announcement New Zealand was already at level On 21st of March Prime Minister “Jacinda Ardern”, announced a countrywide alert system to deal with the coronavirus outbreak. There were fours levels included in the system with level 1 being the least risk of infection and level 4 the highest. Those who had weak immune system were advised to stay at home. At the time of Ardern announcement, New Zealand was already at level.
The levels are as listed below-
- Level 1 – Prepare (Disease is contained but household transmission could be occurring) –
- School and workspaces open, but work with safety
- No restrictions on domestic transport
- Intensive Testing for COVID-19.
- Level 1 was imposed on 8th of June 2020
- Level 2 – Reduce (Risk of Community Transmission remains and there may be single cluster outbreaks of disease) –
- No more than 100 people at indoor or outdoor gatherings
- Physical Distancing of 1 meter between people in public places like workspace
- Schools and other educational institutes can remain open but with proper health measures
- Level 2 was imposed on 13th of May 2020
- Level 3 – Restrict (Disease is now not contained and Community transmission might be occurring) –
- Schools can safely open but with limited capacity. Children can learn at home if possible
- Physical Distancing of 2 meter between people in public places like workspace
- Public Venues are closed like library, museums, etc
- Level 3 was imposed on 27th of April 2020
- Level 4 – Eliminate (Disease is now widespread across the nation)
- People advised to stay at home all the time
- Public Transport or Traveling is much limited
- All type of gathering is cancelled.
- Level 4 was imposed on 25th of March 2020
The Golden Rules (By Prime Minster “Jacinda Ardern”) that controlled the COVID-19 Outbreak in New Zealand
- If you are sick, stay home.
- If you have cold or flu-like symptoms get tested.
- Wash your hands, wash your hands, Wash your hands.
- Sneeze and cough into your elbow and regularly disinfect shared surfaces.
- If you are told by health authorities to self-isolate you must do so immediately.
- If concerned about your wellbeing or you have underlying health conditions consult with your GP.
- Keep track of where you’ve been and who you’ve seen so we can use that for contact tracing if needed.
- Businesses should help with rule seven by displaying a QR code.
- Stay vigilant
- Be kind to others and yourself.
Finally, on 8th of June 2020, the last patient of COVID-19 was recovered and till now (as of 10th of June 2020) there are no active or new COVID-19 cases in New Zealand.
|Total||Change in last 24 hours|
|Number of confirmed cases in New Zealand||1,154||0|
|Number of probable cases||350||0|
|Number of confirmed and probable cases||1,504||0|
|Number of recovered cases||1,482||0|
|Number of deaths||22||0|
|Number of active cases||0||0|
|Number of cases currently in hospital||0||0|
(Featured Image Source: Pool/Getty Images)