Opinion Paper

Non-pharmaceutical strategies win coronavirus disease 2019 battle in New Zealand

Godwell Nhamo, Gwendoline Q. Kandawasvika, Mncengeli Sibanda
Jàmbá: Journal of Disaster Risk Studies | Vol 12, No 1 | a1010 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/jamba.v12i1.1010 | © 2020 Godwell Nhamo, Gwendoline Q. Kandawasvika, Mncengeli Sibanda | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 24 June 2020 | Published: 11 December 2020

About the author(s)

Godwell Nhamo, Institute for Corporate Citizenship, College of Economic and Management Sciences, University of South Africa, Pretoria, South Africa
Gwendoline Q. Kandawasvika, Department of Paediatrics and Child Health, College of Health Sciences, University of Zimbabwe, Harare, Zimbabwe
Mncengeli Sibanda, Department of Public Health Pharmacy and Management, School of Pharmacy, Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences University, Pretoria, South Africa


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Abstract

This literature-based article found that on 08 June 2020, New Zealand claimed victory over coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) mainly because of effective non-pharmaceutical strategies and interventions that included a hard lockdown. The response was informed by the country’s Influenza Pandemic Plan (although without criticism), which was updated in 2017, and the swift responses from political leadership and other key stakeholders. Strategies instituted included the proclamation of urgent precautionary measures leading to border closures, issuing of a 3-month-long COVID-19 notice under the Epidemic Preparedness Act 2006, the proclamation of the COVID-19 Elimination Strategy and the Initial COVID-19 Māori Response Action Plan, which incorporated COVID-19 Alert Levels that facilitated stepwise easing of the hard lockdown. The non-pharmaceutical strategies seem to have worked again, even as the second wave of COVID-19 infections returned in August 2020 through an Auckland cluster. Hence, the New Zealand case remains one that the world can draw lessons from, although not perfect.

Keywords

COVID-19; flatten the curve; influenza pandemic plan; lockdown; New Zealand

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