NEW ZEALAND’S PM IS THE MOST POPULAR WORLD LEADER IN A CENTURY
New Zealand’s Female PM Is Most Popular Leader In A Century As Country Goes Days With No Cases
TOPLINE: New Zealand has found no new Covid-19 cases in the past two days, just as a new poll named Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern the country’s most popular leader in 100 years thanks to her pandemic response.
- Tuesday was the second day in a row that no new Covid-19 cases were counted in New Zealand, following weeks of a consistent drop in the country’s daily infection rate, with only 19 new Covid-19 registered in all of May.
- Ardern, the country’s youngest prime minister, is also the most popular in a century according to a Newshub-Reid Research poll released Monday, with nearly 60% of those surveyed calling her their preferred leader.
- Ardern’s popularity has surged since she ordered the country’s strict lockdown, her approval rate jumping about 20 points since the last poll and as almost 92% of respondents say they support the measures she implemented.
- Though no new cases have been found since a single new confirmed case Sunday, the number of total cases increased by four Tuesday to account for four New Zealand nationals who tested positive after being stuck on a cruise ship in Uruguay who have since recovered and returned home.
- Director-General of Health Ashley Bloomfield told a press conference that the country still has “a long way to go,” before New Zealand will declare the virus contained and continue with the final phase of their reopening plan.
- Testing efforts are still ongoing, as 3,125 Covid-19 tests were performed on Monday with nearly 234,000 having been done to date nationwide.
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If new, tech-savvy contact tracing efforts will help further curb the spread of Covid-19. New Zealand will release a contact tracing mobile phone app Wednesday, to act as a “digital diary,” Ardern said. New Zealanders will be encouraged to scan QR codes at establishments they visit to record where they have been in case they, or someone they may have been exposed to tests positive for the virus. The Ministry of Health will save the information for about a month before deleting it and will not share the data, according to the government.
New Zealand has reported just more than 1,500 people infected—including both confirmed and probable cases—and only 21 deaths, a relatively low figure for its population of 5 million. Experts believe this is largely thanks to the strict lockdown Ardern put into place in March, once the country counted more than 100 Covid-19 cases. The country’s daily infection rate has dropped consistently since the first part of April, believed to have been New Zealand’s Covid-19 peak. Of all the country’s cases recorded, 96% have been registered as recovered, with only two patients being treated in hospitals for Covid-19 nationwide on Tuesday. New Zealand continued to slowly roll back its nationwide lockdown last week as cafes, retail shops and restaurants were permitted to open their doors as long as they enforced social distancing guidelines.