BY TARITA HUTCHINSON
Citizens of the globe continue to wage war against the global coronavirus pandemic that has ravaged economies and healthcare systems for two successive years.
No country has been left unscathed by its effects and even with the most rapid global vaccine rollout in history the virus has been able to mutate with the new prevalent strain, known as the delta variant, more transmissible than the original alpha strain and spreading quickly through the world.
Since the virus was first declared a pandemic in early 2020, New Zealand has followed an elimination strategy similar to its Asian neighbours of China, South Korea and Taiwan. Despite New Zealand borders being closed a case was detected to have moved from an isolation facility into the community. Testing linked it back to a traveller that had arrived in the country in early August. This was the first case of community transmission in New Zealand since February 2021.
This elimination strategy accounts for New Zealand’s low death rate with 26 deaths recorded from a total of 3,519 cases.
The New Zealand Government, using emergency powers, placed the country into a Level 4 Lockdown. This is the highest alert level in New Zealand and requires all but essential workers to stay home. New Zealand will remain in lockdown for at least a two week period to dampen the spread of the virus. The country was late to the party but is ramping up its vaccination process with over 20% of people fully vaccinated and another 40% having had a first dose of the vaccine.
The Cook Islands, a COVID-free paradise, having recorded only 1 COVID case and with no deaths, is a 4 hour flight from New Zealand. Until mid-August the Cook Islands was enjoying the status of being the only country with open borders into New Zealand. It’s Government has since closed those borders until New Zealand successfully eliminates community spread of COVID19. The Cook Islands also claims the highest rate of vaccination against the coronavirus with a 93% vaccination rate of its population.
St Kitts and Nevis has also had a strong government response to the virus with a total of 1,053 cases recorded and 3 deaths. Most recently the country has felt the effects of the delta variant and the Government has imposed curfews through July and August to dampen the spread of the virus. St Kitts and Nevis have a strong vaccination programme with at least 84% of the population having received at least one dose.
Southpac employees are all set up to work from home in these lockdown situations and we remain committed to ensuring the safety and health of our team so that they can continue to provide our clients with the support needed as this pandemic rages on.