New Zealand has been seen as a global superstar in terms of COVID-19 response efforts, quickly topping the Government Response Stringency Index and at one point achieving elimination of COVID-19.
What did it?
- “Decisive governance, effective communication, and high population compliance,” a Lancet Public Health study found.
- Quickly ramping up testing capacity helped identify transmission chains early on and isolate cases to limit further spread.
- By late April, robust contact tracing meant that people were isolating an average of 2–7 days before the onset of illness.
- Strict lockdowns and border closures helped minimize economic and mental health turmoil, which can degrade compliance with public health policies.
As a result, New Zealand’s lockdown was “remarkable for its stringency and its brevity,” according to an accompanying commentary.