10/18 News Flash 11: The impact of News Zealand’s national response to COVID-19

Graphic by Annie Lin.

Earlier this year, New Zealand made the world jealous of their handling of the COVID-19 outbreak. To better understand the country’s response, Jefferies et al. charted its COVID-19 cases and deaths over five different phases of government-issued restrictions, ranging from banning arrivals from four different countries and all cruise ships (Phase 1) to a national lockdown with strong testing and contact tracing programs (Phases 3 and 4).

The study considered the effects of these measures on the number of cases in New Zealand and found that the country’s enviable results could be credited to its swift and stringent suppression strategies, which they deemed “unprecedented.” The authors noted that the New Zealand government’s evidence-based escalation and de-escalation choices, coupled with high compliance from the general population, allowed the country to escape the brunt of what could have been a much larger epidemic.