It’s been several months since countries around the world shut down to fight the novel coronavirus. While some countries are starting to loosen restrictions, others are still trying to flatten the curve. Two countries, however, are breathing a small sigh of relief: for now, Fiji and New Zealand have declared themselves COVID-19- free in early June. What does that mean?
In early June Fiji Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama declared the island country COVID-19-free after the last of the eighteen people who tested positive with the virus had recovered. In New Zealand, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern declared the country COVID-19-free because there have been no new infections in the country for three weeks. While most restrictions have been lifted (social distancing is no longer required, schools and businesses can reopen, and there are no limitations to gathering sizes), the country’s borders remain closed to foreign travelers and those traveling back to New Zealand must self-quarantine for fourteen days. Many attribute New Zealand’s success to Prime Minister Ardern and the country’s early efforts to contain and track the virus.
Does this mean that the virus will never show up in these countries again? Sadly, there’s no guarantee—two new cases were recently found in New Zealand from foreign travelers—but both countries remain cautiously hopeful that they will be able to prevent significant infection from taking hold.
*Wondering how countries around the world are responding to COVID-19? Visit Xyza’s YouTube channel for quick and easy-to-understand videos of what’s happening.