After a scare in late January, where a case of undetected Covid-19 appeared in the quarantine hotel where all citizens have to stay after returning to their country, everything seems to have returned to normal in New Zealand. For Kiwis, who have not yet been vaccinated, the pandemic seems to be a bad dream of the past.
February of 2021 in New Zealand seems to be the month where the country has gone back to a pre-Covid world with parties, concerts, barbecues, meetings with friends, without social distancing or masks. On February 6th, the Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern, shared a video on her Facebook that has caught the attention of the world. The occasion was one of the most important dates for the country, Waitingi Day (considered the national day of New Zealand), and Ardern showed hundreds of people together and without masks, including herself, in an outdoor barbecue.
With the pandemic almost under control, the country no longer even enforces the wearing of masks or social distancing, except in the city of Auckland and on public transport, just in case. Authorities recently announced that they intent to keep borders closed for most of 2021, or as long as the coronavirus pandemic is not under control. That way, the country hopes to preserve its “safety bubble”, which it seems to have achieved, at least for the time being.
The country was one of the most successful in the world in combating Covid-19. With a population of about five million, it had just over 2,200 coronavirus cases, of which only 25 people died. All of this thanks to an immediate and resolved action from authorities. The results can be seen.
On February 3rd, 2020, the day after the first Covid-19 casualty outside of China was reported, New Zealand was already implementing measures. The country was among the first to get a grip on the pandemic and by May of last year the situation seemed to be under control.
On March 25, 2020, with only 102 confirmed cases, New Zealand implemented strict confinement measures, severe restrictions on flights from abroad, and all the measures of social distancing that we know today. The fact that it is an archipelago certainly helped when it came to stopping the contagion.
On Friday February 12th, Jacinda Ardern announced that New Zealand will receive the first vaccines against Covid-19 next week and that the rollout would begin on February 20th.