New Zealand continues to lead the way as it records yet another day without a new coronavirus infection and its hospitals remain clear of infected patients.
This is now the sixth day in a row without a new infection. In addition, the total number of active cases in the country has dropped to just eight, the Director General of Health, Dr Ashley Bloomfield, announced.
However, the total number of deaths related to COVID-19 rose by one and now stands at 22. This follows the death of a woman in her ‘90s at St Margaret’s rest home in Auckland. The woman was part of the infection cluster at the home, but was regarded as having recovered from the virus at the time of her death.
According to official statistics as at 9am on 28 May, there are now 1 154 confirmed cases in New Zealand, 350 probable cases, and 1 474 recovered cases. Twelve of the recovered cases were confirmed in the previous 24 hours.
Country’s handling of the virus widely praised
New Zealand’s rapid recovery from the pandemic is attracting headlines around the world, particularly following the announcement on Wednesday, 27 May that the country’s hospitals now do not have a single infected patient in care.
At the height of the pandemic in mid-April, there were 20 people in hospital with COVID-19, but that number has been decreasing on a daily basis. In all, 95 people in New Zealand have been hospitalised with the virus since the start of the pandemic.
Ardern’s hardline approach the key
New Zealand is now being widely praised for its handling of this crisis, in particular Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s hardline approach to the country’s lockdown in a bid to stop the spread of the disease.
Dr Bloomfield said that if New Zealand had handled coronavirus in the same manner as the UK, the country could have had between 3 000 and 3 500 deaths.
“Clearly this is a virus that’s having a big impact globally,” he said. “If we were the UK, we would’ve had between 3 000 and 3 500 deaths to date. “Yesterday we would’ve reported 250 new cases and we would still be in lockdown. That’s proportionate by population.”
A report carried on the website of the World Economic Forum (WEF) quotes Grant Duncan, associate professor at Massey University in Palmerston North, as saying: “During a national emergency we discover how well, or poorly, a country is governed.
“But New Zealand’s success so far in working towards eliminating COVID-19 isn’t due just to leadership from the top. It’s been a collective success, involving most ‘ordinary’ Kiwis and unity across political divides.”