This fast-moving global COVID-19 pandemic caught many nations unprepared and has exposed numerous flaws in global health, public health, and economic and social welfare infrastructures. It may seem premature to write about responses, but there are lessons to be learned from the response of Aotearoa New Zealand. Although its geopolitical situation as an island nation meant that it had late exposure to COVID-19, NZ has been commended because it closed its borders (to non-nationals); lockdown; traced; tested contacts; told people to pick a ‘bubble’ (immediate and usual family or household) and stay within that bubble; and promoted clear public messages. Government assistance was available for employers to retain staff, and additional support was provided for businesses and individuals. A strong and empathetic prime minister communicated regularly with the public and developed a sense of common national purpose. However, COVID-19 still exposed the impact of social inequalities. Implications for the next steps of recovery are considered in the paper.
International Journal of Community and Social Development, 2020, 2 (2), pp. 121 - 133 (12)