How New Zealand Tackled the Coronavirus


Sarah Peddie

With the worldwide coronavirus pandemic changing our everyday lives as we know it, there are cases where some countries around the world have successfully dealt with COVID-19. New Zealand is one of the countries that has dealt with the coronavirus so well that it is now a global success story.

Here at Odyssey, we have many jobs linked to New Zealand in the healthcare system and we take a look at how the country has been so successful in dealing with the outbreak. 

New Zealand recorded their first coronavirus case on the 28 February and since then they have recorded 1,497 cases and 21 deaths (as of May 13). 

Scientists believe that if the right strategies and rules were not put in place at the correct time then the country would have suffered over 1,000 cases a day which would have put the health service under pressure. Michael Baker, an epidemiologist at the University of Otago in Wellington was an advisor to the government and played a key role within the success story.

Baker had been keeping a close eye on how the virus was spreading in Wuhan since January and saw the devastation it created. He realised that if New Zealand acted quickly and swiftly it could prevent disaster happening before it even began. This is where he said they could totally eliminate the virus rather than suppressing it. 

Epidemiologists began advising the government to change their strategy and implement a full lockdown throughout the country. This involved closing the borders and enforcing a containment policy where the entire population, apart from essential workers, were required to stay at home unless they had to go out for medical or food supplies. 

However, not all policy makers in New Zealand agreed with these measures but as the situation got worse in Europe - the case for these measures was growing in favour. On March 23, Jacinda Arden took the decision to aim for elimination of the virus and announced a nationwide lockdown when the country had around 100 cases of coronavirus.

New Zealand managed to conduct 8,000 tests a day which is the most test per capita in the world and implemented a digital tracing system which had integrated existing health records to send automatic text messages to people who had maybe come in contact with the virus.

On May 4, the country had recorded zero new cases of the coronavirus since it had gone into lockdown in March. This meant that social distancing measures were allowed to be relaxed and people could return to work. 

If you are thinking about a move to work in the New Zealand healthcare system then register with Odyssey Recruitment today and we could help you on your way.