The country’s goal of eliminating Covid transmission looks within reach – but health experts’ optimism is cautious
Less than a month ago, New Zealanders disappeared into their homes, retracting from the public domain like spilled water into a dry sponge. The motorways and city streets stood mostly empty, shops closed, schools and playgrounds were deserted. A single case of the highly contagious Delta variant had been detected and the government called a snap level-4 lockdown, introducing some of the strictest restrictions in the world.
It was a new threat for a country whose Covid-zero pandemic response had been ranked one of the best globally. New Zealand had never faced a Delta outbreak before, and no one knew if its past strategies would prove up to the task.
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