New Zealand is anxiously waiting to find out if the country will remain at alert Level 4 lockdown or drop to Level 3.
Professor Shaun Hendy is advising the government on modelling of the spread of the virus, and today, he’s signalled we have a chance at eliminating the virus, a feat no other country has achieved.
This chance means ensuring the reproductive number of Covid-19 remains low.
“So that reproductive number is if you get infected, how many other people are you going to go on to infect? And you need to get that down below one. If you want to get rid of the disease, if you want to come out of this with minimising the number of fatalities and the impact on the economy, you need to get that below one,” Professor Hendy said.
Currently in New Zealand, our reproductive number is at 0.5, and Professor Hendy says if it stays that way, we could eliminate the virus within two weeks.
“The opportunity that we've got is, we've brought our numbers down low enough that our contact tracing, our testing can actually keep a lid on that, so let’s say we went to Level 3 we'd probably be able to contain it, but we wouldn't be able to eliminate it.”
But the constant debate right now is either extend Level Four lockdown to protect the health of New Zealanders, or drop down into Level 3 to help the economy - leaving the Government with the task of choosing between people’s lives and livelihoods.