Professor Baker Helped devise The country’s elimination strategy. He said that despite initial fears that a serious blockade would cause irreparable damage to the economy, New Zealand’s approach has proven that the best economic response is a strong public health response, including testing, contact tracking and quarantine.
In much of the rest of the Western world, Professor Baker took the “settled exceptionalist approach. You won’t be infected with the virus or it won’t be as serious as you might think, and you have proven that the epidemic is wrong. .”
In Auckland, where gatherings were limited to 100 people and it was mandatory to go to public transport, the rules were relaxed at 11:59 PM on Wednesday. People no longer need to wear masks in public places, but keep logging in and keeping records of places they visit, maintaining good hygiene practices, and staying home to get virus screened if they’re not feeling well. The border is closed to almost all travelers except New Zealand citizens and permanent residents.
Residents felt relieved, but did not expect to return to their normal lives immediately.
“People stayed in the suburbs and supported local eateries, so in the past they were in really good places, but not that many now,” said Yael Shochat, who has run Ima Cuisine, a restaurant in downtown Auckland, for nearly 20 years.
“But most importantly, we got rid of the virus again, and as a result people can come out with confidence,” Shochat said. “I’m hoping people really want to go out and have a party when Christmas comes. It’s been a terrible year.”
Others have said they are frustrated with the seemingly strict restrictions that they can’t apply for visas or do things the government doesn’t need. And some who admitted that action was needed said they felt not done enough to help them.