NZ vs Australia

An insightful analysis by Castalia who have studied how the NZ response to Covid-19 compares to the five main Australian states.

Their summary is:

From this comparative analysis, Australian policies appear, on the limited evidence, to be effective with fewer negative impacts on wider wellbeing. Australia also appears better placed to rebound when restrictions are lifted. New Zealand’s policies have contained people to household “bubbles” with consequential impacts on activity such as work and education. New Zealand may have more difficulty rebounding.

The States and New Zealand are good comparators because all have similar urbanisation rates (between 86 and 90 percent), demographic profiles, cultures and legal systems.

I was supportive of us going to Level 4, but it is too blunt a tool to remain in use for more than four weeks. Going forward we should have a more flexible response, as Australia has.

They key difference:

In summary, while borders are generally closed:

Australia’s restrictions are activity based. Activities are limited where people can randomly encounter one another, but most workplaces are able to continue operating subject to compliance with social distancing rules

New Zealand’s restrictions confine each household to their own “bubble”. Leaving home is only permitted for acquiring essential items and for exercise. A limited set of essential services and businesses may continue.

So Australia hasn’t closed all the education facilities, just required them to operate with distancing rules. Same for businesses – they can operate if they have distancing rules. They also have allowed very small weddings (max 5 people) and funerals (max 10). Also Australia allows you to leave your home provided you do social distancing.

They compare the known infection rates:

And even more interesting is the cases since the respective lockdowns:

So as I said I think the Level 4 lockdown was a good call for the four week period. But this analysis shows that going forward we don’t need to be as restrictive, and can still achieve equally good health outcomes.

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