Professor Baker helped devise the country’s elimination strategy. He said that despite early fears that severe lockdowns would irreparably damage the economy, New Zealand’s approach had shown that the best economic response was a strong public health response, including a flash of testing, contact tracing and commissioning. quarantine.
Much of the rest of the Western world, Professor Baker added, has “taken the approach of complacent exceptionalism – that they would not catch the virus, or it would not be as bad as they thought, and the pandemic proved them wrong.”
Although the residents said they were relieved, they did not expect an immediate return to normal life.
“People have stayed in their suburbs and supported their local restaurants, so where I was in a good location in the past, now not that much,” said Yael Shochat, who ran Ima Cuisine, a restaurant in central Auckland. , for nearly two decades.
“But the most important thing is that we have cleared the virus again, and that makes people feel safe to get out,” Ms. Shochat said. “I hope that, with Christmas coming, people will really want to go out and celebrate – it has been a horrible year.”
Others said they were frustrated by the restrictions that seemed too strict, preventing them from applying for visas or doing jobs considered non-essential by the government. And some who acknowledged the measures were necessary said they felt that not enough had been done to assist them.