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How New Zealand Beat Covid-19 and Lessons For Kenya

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New Zealand and Germany are among few countries that have had masterclass in handling Coronavirus through organized testing, strict lockdowns and huge advantage from well-established medical facilities. The New Zealand has recorded 22 fatalities with the last cases happening months ago.

New Zealand have since relaxed its travel restrictions, lockdowns, opened schools and have largely resumed normalcy. In stark contrast with other countries Kenya included that have either mishandled, acted slowly or no action at all, the New Zealand success is standing tall and should be emulated although it is late for some other countries. There are some key strategies that bolstered New Zeeland Covid success story.

First, the enormous testing capacity across the country for isolation of potential cases and quarantine the contacts. Testing large number of people not only assured safeguarding the healthy and COVID free population but also for urgent medical attention confirmed by the lowest mortality rates.

Secondly, the New Zealand was among the states that acted swiftly, decisively and on time before the rapid spread of the disease. The imposition of nationwide strict lockdowns ensured the victims could no longer spread faster and easily and could be traced with minimal infections rates. The bold actions assured the success as the countries that have had neutral standpoints with wait and see strategies are bearing the brunt of lockdowns and spark in infections with skyrocketing the numbers.

“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,” Prime Minister Jacinda Arden said after lifting the restrictions. With the zero community transmissions and the least fatalities in the world, PM Arden emerges from the pandemic a heroine and a champion who has offered proper leadership which has surprisingly lacked in many countries that is bearing the brunt of deaths and destructions with protracted lockdowns.

Kenya has a lot to learn obviously from New Zealand. While they went for the earliest strict lockdowns Kenya on the other hand went for less restrictive lockdown with the government banning movements to two affected cities Nairobi and Mombasa but still the citizens were allowed to interact and continue with business through the country. These clearly shows the difference in success rate as Kenya has suspended school year entirely while New Zealand resumed more than a fortnight ago.

Massive testing, tracing is a point that has disadvantaged us as Kenyans as insufficient testing means that thousands and hundreds of unknown victims interact with other people daily thereby increasing the rates of infections and proving a tall order to flatten the curve. New Zealand tested, traced and isolated cases in an elaborate and structured manner with precision. The success of Kenya in the window of opportunity to flatten and manage the virus infections.

The testing process and procedures, treatment kits are financially draining the government of Kenya but the fact of the matter is, if the country does not swiftly embrace ways to curb the infections then the collapse from economic ruins will be devastating. The job losses are massive and the middle class are on the edge maintaining their lives.

New Zealand has set the precedent, however low we think Kenya can or cannot, we need to embrace working methods ASAP


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