Jàmbá : Journal of Disaster Risk Studies (Dec 2020)

Non-pharmaceutical strategies win coronavirus disease 2019 battle in New Zealand

  • Godwell Nhamo,
  • Gwendoline Q. Kandawasvika,
  • Mncengeli Sibanda

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 12, no. 1
pp. e1 – e6


Read online

This literature-based article found that on 08 June 2020, New Zealand claimed victory over coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) mainly because of effective non-pharmaceutical strategies and interventions that included a hard lockdown. The response was informed by the country’s Influenza Pandemic Plan (although without criticism), which was updated in 2017, and the swift responses from political leadership and other key stakeholders. Strategies instituted included the proclamation of urgent precautionary measures leading to border closures, issuing of a 3-month-long COVID-19 notice under the Epidemic Preparedness Act 2006, the proclamation of the COVID-19 Elimination Strategy and the Initial COVID-19 Māori Response Action Plan, which incorporated COVID-19 Alert Levels that facilitated stepwise easing of the hard lockdown. The non-pharmaceutical strategies seem to have worked again, even as the second wave of COVID-19 infections returned in August 2020 through an Auckland cluster. Hence, the New Zealand case remains one that the world can draw lessons from, although not perfect.