Scientific article
Open access

The End of the Elimination Strategy : Decisive Factors towards Sustainable Management of COVID-19 in New Zealand

Published inEpidemiologia, vol. 3, no. 1, p. 135-147
Publication date2022-03-18
First online date2022-03-18

New Zealand has long been praised for the effectiveness of its COVID-19 elimination strategy. It resulted in fewer COVID-19-related deaths, better economic recovery, and less stringent policy measures within its borders compared with other OECD countries, which opted for mitigation or suppression. However, since September 2021, the rising number of infections has not been contained anymore by the contact tracing and self-isolation system in place and the government has shifted towards a policy strategy similar to suppression to manage the crisis. In this case study, we analyse the factors that led the government to switch policy and discuss why elimination became unsustainable to manage the COVID-19 epidemic in New Zealand. Results showed that the socioeconomic and political factors, along with the appearance of new variants and a delayed vaccination program, were accountable for the switch in strategy. This switch allows the country to better adapt to the evolving nature of the disease and to address the social and economic repercussions of the first year of measures. Our conclusion does not disregard elimination as an appropriate initial strategy to contain this pandemic in the absence of a vaccine or treatment, but rather suggests that borders cannot remain closed for long periods of time without creating social, economical, and political issues.

  • COVID-19
  • New Zealand
  • Elimination
  • Long-term sustainability
  • Strategy
Citation (ISO format)
BLAIR, Alicia Anne et al. The End of the Elimination Strategy : Decisive Factors towards Sustainable Management of COVID-19 in New Zealand. In: Epidemiologia, 2022, vol. 3, n° 1, p. 135–147. doi: 10.3390/epidemiologia3010011
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Article (Published version)
ISSN of the journal2673-3986

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