Beginning to Present: COVID-19 in New Zealand


Jannah Al Defaaei, Writer

New Zealand, an island country with a population of 4.8 million, has only two COVID-19 cases as of November 2. The country has 1,857 recovered cases out of 1,961 total cases, including 25 deaths. However, many wonder, how is the country handling the pandemic so well? Is it because of their smaller population, or do they have a method that keeps the virus under control?

The answer is fairly simple. Yes, New Zealand has a smaller population compared to many countries, which does help the virus stay under control. However, population is not the main reason that nation was able to become and stay stable. There are significant measures that the nation’s government has taken to reach their achievement.

When the pandemic first erupted, New Zealand was not immediately hit, thanks to its geographical region. When the virus reached New Zealand, lockdowns were the primary and most effective response method. There are 4 Alert Levels, each having their own measures depending on the severity of an outbreak. 

Alert Level 1: Travel restrictions, and government income support introduced. 

Alert Level 2: Physical distancing, additional precautions for vulnerable groups, specific gatherings (weddings) limited to 100 people. Schools open. 

Alert Level 3: Public places closed. Drive throughs open. Gathering of only 10 people allowed. Essential inter-regional travel allowed. 

Alert Level 4: Required to stay home. Schools, restaurants, and public places in general are closed. Supermarkets, pharmacies, and hospitals are open. Only one person per family allowed into a supermarket, and masks were not mandatory. 

“When it got to about 100 cases, about 50 cases a day, they closed down the schools and we were in lockdown for more than 4 weeks I think. This was a Level 4 lockdown,” Layla Taha, a New Zealand citizen said. 

Another precaution that was taken since the beginning of the pandemic was the closing of the borders. New Zealand’s Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern, took many strong and fast steps against the spread of the virus.

“Now we are on Level 1, which means you can do whatever you want, but people still decided to wear masks,” Taha said. 

Jacinda Ardern also has a strong relation with scientists while making decisions regarding the pandemic. This has a big effect on how the nation came together as a whole and put health before the economy. 

At this point, New Zealand continues to handle the situation very well. “There are not many cases, we get one case maybe every two days,” Taha said.