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Monday, June 08, 2020

More normal



New Zealand went to Alert Level One at 11:59pm tonight, which means that in nearly every respect, the country goes back to “normal”.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced the move today (video above). It’s been a long haul, and we all sacrificed a lot to get here. We lost 22 New Zealanders to the disease, and our economy took a huge hit. However, by emerging from lockdown and getting back to normal so quickly, we have a distinct advantage over other countries that still haven’t beaten the virus.

We were under Alert Levels for 75 days, and 26 under Alert Level 2. The Prime Minister said:
Our lockdown was in place 26 days after our first case, when we had just over 200 cases… Had we not acted, 11 days in to our lockdown we were projected to have 4000 cases. We had 1000 and one of the lowest rates per capita in the world.
It’s clear that New Zealand’s strategy of “going hard, and going early”—it clearly worked. It also had huge support from New Zealanders. Still, as the Prime Minister added:
We must remain mindful of the global situation and the harsh reality that the virus will be in our world for some time to come. 
We are confident we have eliminated transmission of the virus in New Zealand for now, but elimination is not a point in time – it is a sustained effort.
We almost certainly will see cases here again – I want to say again, we will almost certainly see cases here again – but when that occurs it will not mean we have failed. It is the reality of this virus. We must be and we are prepared for future cases.
Will we succeed in avoiding going back to lockdown? There’s no way of knowing that, but we’re well positioned to do it. “This freedom from restrictions relies though heavily on the ongoing role that our border controls will play in keeping the virus out,” the Prime Minister said.

And now, it’s on to what will feel like a new normality, one that we haven’t felt for months. But it will be different: No foreign travel, we’re still advised to keep a record of where we go, and/or to use the government’s App.

Now, we all need to get busy.

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