As health officials announce each new day of no new Covid-19 cases, social media explodes with New Zealanders celebrating the news.

“That feeling like you got away with something that seemed impossible and you can’t quite believe it even thoughyou want to believe it,” wrote one, on Twitter. “But for an entire country.”

Twenty-two New Zealanders have died of Covid-19, ; thousands have lost their jobs and therefore the nation’s largest export sector, tourism, lies in tatters. But as New Zealanders look to the many thousands of deaths recorded in other countries, there’s a way that the remainder of the globe faced a unique pandemic, the disastrous scale of which never fully arrived here.

Now, providing there are not any new and unexpected cases to marr the country’s 14-day streak of zero fresh instances of Covid-19, scientists say they expect to be ready to declare next week that the virus has been eliminated from New Zealand – making it the primary country among the OECD group of rich nations, and therefore the first country that has recorded quite 100 cases to form such a press release , analysts said.

Data provided to the Guardian by the Ministry of Health, showing that the last person to known to possess contracted the virus domestically from an unknown source had been diagnosed on 29 April and remained in quarantine until 18 May, was “pretty reassuring”, said Nick Wilson, a public health specialist from the University of Otago.

“According to our model that may put us nearly at the 99% probability of elimination,” he said. The health ministry said elimination of the coronavirus might be declared 28 days after the last confirmed domestic case of the illness had left quarantine, which might get on 15 June (Wilson said the ministry’s definition was especially cautious).

While many other nations, Britain among them, plan to balance easing restrictions on their stalled economies with determining acceptable levels of risk for it’s populations, New Zealand’s government is poised to drop all rules except border controls as soon as next week. Its leaders hope the virus’ spread have been quelled altogether.

“Life isn’t entirely back to normal here, but we’ve got something like normal back,” says Shaun Hendy, a scientist at the University of Auckland, who was involved during a study employed by New Zealand’s health ministry that predicted tens of thousands of deaths if the virus wasn’t contained. “There’s a really high chance that we’ve eliminated the disease domestically and there’s so few parts of the planet that have the choices and choices we do.”

The veteran science communicator said he had been “literally shaking” after a breakfast television interview that happened before prime minister Jacinda Ardern strictly locked down the country on 25 March, during which he discussed his team’s “confronting” predictions for a way the disease could spread.

source :  The Guardian

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