New Zealand Beat the Virus Once. Can It Do It Again?

New Zealand Beat the Virus Once. Can It Do It Again?

Jeremy Hutton, 28, who works in finance and was out for a walk and a take-away coffee on Thursday morning, asked what seemed to be on the minds of many: “Are we just going to keep doing this every couple of months?”

Still, despite the new cases, many New Zealanders recognized their enviable position. John Coop, 48, an architect, said he had recently spoken to a friend in London, and “there was a stark difference between his reality and what it is like here.”

“We’re incredibly grateful,” he added.

Dr. Baker, the epidemiologist, said that New Zealand’s prior success, and the sustained elimination of the virus in other places, such as Taiwan and Fiji, suggested room for optimism. He said the latest outbreak could be small and quickly brought under control.

“The government moved incredibly fast and decisively with the lockdown,” he said. “If there are any undetected chains of transmission, they will peter out.”

Mr. Thorby, sitting with his coffee, said he and many others were just hoping that what had worked once would work again, but more quickly. While his “heart dropped,” he said, when the news of the new cases hit, he supports the government’s aggressive response.

“I think we are sensible, and I think we trust the government,” he said. “We’ve had no reason not to trust our government.”

Damien Cave reported from Sydney, and Serena Solomon from Auckland, New Zealand.


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