Karachi (Editorial Desk): By adopting three basic steps, New Zealand is now the first COVID-19 free country in the world. Pakistan, on the other hand, ignored all these three basic steps and now moving into red zone.
Step-1: Responding to Early Warning
Travel ban from China imposed on February 2, as the COVID-19 cases started emerging from China.
Pakistan did not take notice of the situation and people from China kept coming in large numbers. Pakistan closed Iran boarder for a brief period and reopened Taftan boarder though numbers of COVID-19 were rising in Iran.
Step-2: Smart Lock-down
First case of COVID-19 reported in New Zealand on February 28. Affected person had come from Iran. On March 15, New Zealand reported 100 COVID-19 cases but no death. Government decided to closed all boarded entried on March 19, to to non-New Zealand residents and those arriving must self-isolate for 14 days. With in three days, four tired alert level system introduced.
Pakistan remained divided. As Sindh government introduced lock-down with the increasing numbers of COVID-19, Federal government resisted such steps.
Step 3: Complete Lock-Down
After 10 days of smart lock-down, New Zealand announced complete lock-down. Only grocery stores, pharmacies, hospitals and gas stations could stay open, vehicle travel was restricted, and social interaction was limited to within households. New Zealand enforced complete lock-down for over a month.
Pakistan announced complete lock-down on March 24, but started easing on May 7. Easing the lock down was decided at a time when numbers of patients were rising. Further ease was announced by the mid of May for Eid festival.
New Zealand’s government was following the best guidelines for dealing with a new virus. Pakistan took long time to build consensus at the national level. Most of the time, federal government and provincial governments were not on the same page.
New Zealand Time Line:
February 28: The first case of COViDd-19 announced in New Zealand, as a person in their 60s tests positive after arriving from Iran. March 5: First locally transmitted case occurs, as an Auckland man in his 40s was infected by a family member who had returned from Iran.
March 19: All border entries closed to non-New Zealand residents and those arriving must self-isolate for 14 days.
March 21: A four-tiered alert level system is introduced to try and manage Covid-19 in New Zealand, and those over 70 years old are asked to stay home. The country begins at Alert Level 2, but this is quickly moves to Alert Level 3 two days later.
March 25: The nation moves from Alert Level 3 to Alert Level 4, putting all of New Zealand into a full lockdown in which only trips for essential needs are allowed and essential workers are the only people allowed to leave home for work.
March 29: First death from Covid-19 recorded in the country. The woman who died was in her 70s and lived on the West Coast.
April 5: The country reaches over 1000 cases at 1039.
April 10: All people arriving into New Zealand must undergo a 14-day supervised quarantine.
April 27: Alert Level 4 drops to 3 after just over one month at Level 4.
May 13: As the rate of cases continues to slow, New Zealand moves to Alert Level 2.
May 29: The social gathering limit is raised from 10 to 100 people.
June 5: The 14th day of no new Covid-19 cases is recorded.
June 8: For the first time since the pandemic first took hold in New Zealand, there are no active cases of COVID-19 detected with New Zealand’s borders. Later in the Afternoon, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced New Zealand will move to Covid-19 alert level 1, at midnight.