While many countries in the world are extending or reimposing lockdowns and restrictions with the onset of a third wave of the novel coronavirus, some countries have reportedly gone mask free, and people are attending concerts.
New Zealand exemplifies this statement. The country has become a model for good governance during these tough times so much so that memes asking if they could lend their Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern to India, are doing rounds on social media.
It's because of the government's quick actions and decisions that the country today is mask-free. Recently, over 50,000 people attended a concert which was organised in Auckland, without social distancing and mask requirements.
New Zealand had gone 24 days without a single case, according to multiple news reports.
How did New Zealand guard up?
On 2 February, a man in the Philippines became the first person outside China to die of COVID-19.
At this point, there were no reported cases in New Zealand, but the next day, the country began banning the entry of any foreigner coming from or via China. All the New Zealanders returning from China were supposed to isolate for 14 days.
Later, a ban on the flight was also extended to Iran from where New Zealand got its first case - and restrictions placed on anyone arriving from South Korea, northern Italy, or who was showing symptoms.
As of midnight on 16 March, everybody - including New Zealanders - had to go into self-isolation on arrival in the country, reported BBC News.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said these were the strictest regulations in the world, for which she would "make no apologies".
A few days later, Ardern took the great step of shutting down the borders entirely to almost all non-citizens or residents.
In late March, New Zealand introduced a new four-stage alert system, to prepare the public for a rapidly changing situation. Based on existing wildfire alerts, it would clearly indicate the current risk and the necessary social distancing measures.
The system began at level two, but on 25 March it had risen to level four. That triggered a total nationwide lockdown, with only essential services running and everyone was urged to stay at home, in their "bubble".
At that point, New Zealand had recorded only 102 cases and no deaths.
The time bought by the lockdown was used for extensive COVID-19 testing and contact tracing operation. New Zealand can now carry out 10,000 tests a day and when a case is confirmed, contact tracers get to work alerting anyone they had close interactions with and telling them to isolate.
The WHO has praised New Zealand for acting quickly, holding it as an example to other countries.
On 8 June, Ardern announced that with no new community transmissions in 17 days and all patients fully recovered, "we are confident we have eliminated the transmission of the virus in New Zealand for now".
The lockdown was lifted and everyday life is now almost entirely back to normal, with some social distancing. But the borders remain closed to foreigners with no indication of when will they open again.
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