NEW ZEALAND – FIRST COVID FREE NATION, BUT HERE’S WHY IT WOULDN’T BE A WISE THING TO FOLLOW THE SAME IN INDIA !
Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is an infectious disease caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus. It was first identified in December 2019 in Wuhan, China, and has resulted in an ongoing pandemic. The World Health Organization (WHO) on 30th
January 2020 declared COVID-19 outbreak a public health emergency of international concern .
It soon changed it’s status to a pandemic situation on 11th March 2020. The virus is primarily spread between people during close contact, most often via small droplets produced by coughing, sneezing, and talking. Management of symptoms is the only way of treatment. Since there isn’t a vaccination for it, hygiene maintenance is the only way out of it. New Zealand celebrating their zero.
After a month of New Zealand’s consistent following of one of the harshest lockdowns in the world, it declares itself as corona free. Being in a remote part, they got more time to plan and see how other countries reacted to it and made a strategy accordingly. Jacinda Arden New Zealand’s PM shut its borders and announced a state of National emergency even before it recorded a coronavirus death. The country imposed strict lockdown measures forcing the public to stay in their homes around the clock unless shopping for essentials (like food or medicine) were required. Careful lockdown and people responding quickly and aggressively, has worked on their favour.
New Zealand completely restricted travel to lock everybody inside their homes until it was over. They approached with the ‘elimination of the virus’ ideal. if people don’t interact, the virus won’t spread in the elimination strategy. New Zealand had under 1500 cases with 20 deaths. It closed down all businesses.
Another reason why New Zealand went out so aggressive with the lockdown because the people there are comparatively unhealthy with the highest rates of asthma want influenza patients and obese people. Their hospital systems are not funded well and with the regular flu season hovering over them, there really wasn’t much of a choice left.
No one in this world has any proven idea or approach to deal with this. With the given information that was ahead of them at that time, adjustments were made and followed. Whatever felt right was done at the moment without much planning which has gone disastrously. India’s proactive and pre-emptive approach to Covid-19 was appreciated by the world health community initially.
The nationwide lockdowns were first imposed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on March 24 . It lasted for 21 days but the rising numbers demanded a second one. The lockdown was then extended till May 3 and again it shifted till 17th May. It was further extended till May 31 and now has been extended in containment zones till June 30. Since 30th January, the MoH&FW has confirmed a total of 276,583 cases, 135,206 recoveries (including 1 migration) and 7,745 deaths in the country (10th June). It has the largest numbers in the Asian Continent.
There are a number of reasons contributing to the failure of curbing down the numbers in India-
- Lack of discipline – Even after implementing strict lockdown rules and shutting , people
took it leniently and didn’t bother to wear a mask, sanitize or follow social distancing.
- Migrants- Government trying to get migrants back to heir homeland has taken a toll.
- Cyclones- AMPHAN and NISARGA cyclones caused a havoc in the lives of many displacing a lot of people.
- Dharavi(Mumbai) -Maharashtra has on its own surpassed the numbers of China. It’s one of the largest slums in Asia which got infected by coronavirus.
- Unlocking when there’s the maximum number of cases shot up the number of infected people.
Why shouldn’t India be compared to New Zealand?
Every country is implementing some layers of protection when it comes to dealing with the coronavirus pandemic. There has to be a balance between how much and what restrictions to be put to meet the risk of the rising Covid 19 situation and between the consequences that restrictions could do in the longer term. So, every country has a different balance. Although, it is very hard to tell which would be the best approach right now as there’s no successful model to look up to. Between the failing economy and the virus spread, the governments are having a hard time to pick the ideal option .
Even if New Zealand seems to have overcome it’s outbreak, following or comparing it’s ways of work wouldn’t be fair or feasible . This is because of a number of reasons-
• Area of India is 12 times larger than New Zealand; India with 3.287m km square and New Zealand with only 268,021 km square. The vast area shows how difficult it must be to implement and execute strict rules.
• India being an overpopulated country has a population density of 464 people per square kilometre while the population density of NZ is only 18 per square kilometres. Since the major control method is prevention by social distancing, it is very hard for Indians to
maintain that. Large density means more contact and greater chance of infecting. Hence, eliminating virus would be a very difficult task in a country like India.
• Geographically, it was relatively easy for New Zealand to close it’s borders and since it hit them after it hit India, it had ample of time to deal with it.
• New Zealand is an agricultural country with a lot of cattle, surrounded by sea’s it has a lot of sea food available and thousands of orchids growing to feed the entire population without the fear of starvation and could sustain itself. This isn’t the scenario in India.