According to a new modelling released on Thursday (9 April), it was revealed that New Zealand’s early move to impose a lockdown might have saved the country from seeing a spike in COVID-19 cases.
On Thursday afternoon, the Government recorded only 29 new cases of the deadly coronavirus, but this figure could have been several hundreds now if no lockdown was implemented.
The other scenario could have seen about 200 new cases reported on Thursday, and probably 350 daily cases recorded around this time next week.
This prediction is based on the modelling by researchers at Te Pūnaha Matatini, New Zealand’s Centre of Research Excellence in Complex Systems and Data Analytics.
It also forecasted that the number of cases would continue to float under 50 for the remainder of April.
“We think the lockdown has had a significant effect, which means that our worst-case scenarios are no longer relevant, as long as we continue to be able to contain the virus,” said the centre’s director Professor Shaun Hendy.
He added, “Ultimately we have to follow the case numbers and these will always lag behind the time when the infections take place. But in our graph you can see that if we hadn’t gone into lockdown, then new case numbers would have been steadily rising since the end of March.”
“The fact that the actual case numbers have not risen shows that lockdown is having an effect. Next week we should have a good sense of how much of an effect and what this means for our lockdown.”
On 26 February, New Zealand confirmed its first case of the novel coronavirus, and it closed its borders on 19 March. Following that, the country imposed a complete lockdown on 26 March where 5 million of its population are not allowed to leave their homes, unless they want to get essential supplies or take short, local walks.
Additionally, all schools and non-essential services have also been asked to shut its doors. The country also declared a state of emergency and is at Level 4, which is the highest level, on the COVID-19 alert system.
As of Thursday, New Zealand has recorded 1,239 positive cases of COVID-19, with 317 recoveries.
In response to this situation, the country’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said, “What New Zealanders have done over the last two weeks is huge.”
“In the face of the greatest threat to human health we have seen in over a century, Kiwis have quietly and collectively implemented a nationwide wall of defence. We are on track to meet their most optimistic scenario. We are turning a corner. But to succeed, we need it to keep working,” she added.
She also referred to an earlier modelling which showed that New Zealand was initially on a similar route as Italy and Spain, and that the 205 cases recorded on 25 March could have increased to over 10,000 by now.
Mr Hendy explained that New Zealand’s decision to go into a lockdown before the cases rose high gave the country a chance that other countries no longer have.
“We may be able to eliminate the disease here before a vaccine comes along, which remains to be seen in Europe or the US, and even Australia,” he said.
He added, “What we can see is that lockdown measures similar to those we have used here have been successful in places like Norway, while countries that have had weaker policies, like Sweden for instance, have not fared as well. That should give us confidence that our approach has been the right one.”
Although the lockdown seems to be working in New Zealand’s favour, but Mr Hendy warned that the country should still be careful of a possible “bounce-back” in cases, since very few people have any immunity to the virus.
“The disease could be reintroduced from overseas or it may flare up again in parts of the country,” he said.
He continued, “If we lift the lockdown too early or slow down on our contact tracing and testing then this is a very real risk. This is even true in countries that have had the worst outbreaks. Everyone is going to have to be wary for some time.”

Situation in Singapore

Since 7 April (Tuesday), workplaces islandwide except those of essential services and key sectors are closed as part of a new suite of measures to curb further spread of the novel coronavirus in Singapore.
If that’s not all, schools and higher learning institutions are also closed and lessons have been moved online with full home-based learning.
Called the “circuit breaker”, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong announced that these enhanced measures are taken to slow down or stop the local transmission of COVID-19. He added that such measures “will help reduce the risk of a big outbreak occurring” and “should also help to gradually bring our numbers down”.
“This circuit breaker will apply for one month, in the first instance,” Mr Lee noted.
He also urged Singaporeans to stay at home as much as possible, avoid socialising with others beyond their own household, and confining gatherings to those living in the same household.
“Avoid visiting even your extended families who are not staying with you, especially if they are elderly or vulnerable,” Mr Lee added.
People should also only leave their homes to carry out essential activities such as work for those in essential services and key economic sectors, buying groceries at markets, to take away food from restaurants and hawker centres, or “to exercise in the neighbourhood park, keeping a safe distance from others”, he stressed.
The Republic yesterday (9 Apr) recorded its highest daily number of confirmed COVID-19 cases to date, with the majority of the 287 cases traced to clusters at migrant worker dormitories and Mustafa Centre.
As for neighbouring Malaysia, the country imposed a Movement Control Order (MCO) from 18 March for an initial two weeks in order to contain the spread of COVID-19.
However, Malaysia’s Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin extended the MCO to 14 April as the number of cases were still on the rise.
But, the country saw a sign of hope yesterday (9 April) when it recorded 109 cases, which is the country’s lowest figure in nearly two weeks.
Adding to the good news, Malaysia also witnessed the number of daily recovered cases exceeding the number of new cases for two days in a row.
“There were 121 recoveries today, bringing the total number of recovered patients to 1,608 which is 38 percent of the total number of positive cases,” said Malaysia’s Health Ministry director-general Noor Hisham Abdullah.
Although Malaysia recorded low number of positive cases in the last couple of days, Tan Sri Muhyiddin said on Friday afternoon in a live telecast that the MCO will be extended for another two week, up till 28 April.
He explained that the MCO has helped healthcare workers to contain the spread of the virus.
“If the trend continues to drop, we can curb it from spreading, but we cannot take it easy,” he said.
He added, “The extension is to allow health workers to curb the pandemic.”

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
You May Also Like

不分文、理科 马国中四生明年可选修科目

明年起,马来西亚中四生料能根据自己的兴趣与倾向选修科目,不再有理科与非理科之分。 马国副教育部长张念群,接受《星洲日报》询问时表示,随着中学标准课程(KSSM)明年开始在高中阶段落实,中四生将不再有理科或非理科源流之分。 “学生可根据自己的兴趣与倾向选修科目。学生将根据所选修的科目被安排教室。” 对此,她表示,学校辅导员委以重任,协助学生做出正确的选择,此外,学生的课堂评估与中三评估考试(PT3)也会作为参考指标。 她说,目前中四学生的科目包括英文、马来文、历史、道德、数学和高级数学,而理科项目则包含化学、生物、物理,商科则有科学、会计和经济。学校则被赋予自主权,可根据师资与学校的设备,为中四与中五生提供相关科目的资源。 学校被赋予自主权,以根据师资和学校设备等因素,为中四和中五的学生提供相关科目。 目前中四学生的科目有英文、马来文、历史、道德、数学和高级数学;理科生的科目还有化学、生物、物理,商科生的科目则是科学、会计和经济等。 早在今年2月,马国教育部长马智礼曾指出,国家教育政策研究委员会提出的建议之一,就是不再将学生以理科或非理科区分。 他表示,“在即将落实的新课程中,我们将不仅强调理科,还会加强艺术(和文化),因为知识是一体的,知识无法分隔,应该是综合的。” 他也续指在大学与学校,将会不断地加强校内艺术课程。 他说,向前迈进的方向是要将科学、技术、工程、数学(STEM)生活化,而STEM将被提升为“STREAM”,即除了原本的科学、技术、工程和数学外,还包括艺术和阅读。

林鼎获梁实轩保释 开直播谴责警方逮捕行为

今早(2日)10时许,人民之声党领袖林鼎律师,突然被三名商业事务局警员带离其办公处。 据警方在脸书发布的文告,警方援引刑事法典第309条文的刑事失信罪逮捕他。此外,林鼎在防止骚扰法令(POHA)下,被他的前雇员指控,在任职林鼎的事务所期间被骚扰。 林鼎代表律师拉维(M Ravi)较后在脸书更新贴文,指林鼎获准保释,保释人是时评人梁实轩。林鼎原本今早和梁实轩,在律师楼为下周6日至10日进行的总理诽谤诉讼作准备。 林鼎在获释后,也于今晚进行直播,谴责上述逮捕。他表示本身无意作出反抗,仍被戴上手铐。他称,审讯时他选择拒绝回答调查官提问,也强调这是有政治动机的。 据林鼎描述,他被逮捕后随即被警方带回审问半小时,在他拒绝回答后,便被拘留在一个没有任何桌椅的小室等候。直到下午3.15分,再带回审问室,他同样拒绝回答。半小时后又继续呆在拘留室,直到晚上七点才被梁实轩保释。 早前,警方否认逮捕有政治动机。警方也在脸书贴文,分享林鼎代表律师誌期9月27日的信函,指林鼎无意出席警方传召。 林鼎则在直播中质疑,下周他需代表梁实轩进行辩护。但此举似乎要让梁在诉讼中处于不利情况。他也阐述两年前受理一名客户的交通事故索赔案,但最后却被有关客户指控动用庭费。 至于骚扰指控,林鼎则驳斥“此生从未非法跟踪过任何人”,也声称对雇员予以应有的尊重。 只因分享一则脸书贴文,梁实轩在2018年11月被总理提告诽谤。

Pockets of the unvaccinated people allow the COVID-19 virus to mutate quicker and more freely: Ho Ching

Vaccinated people can slow the spread of COVID-19 and reducing the chances…

Registration for Primary 1 children for 2018 to start on 29 June

The Primary 1 registration dates for the 2018 admission will start on…