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    Sunday, August 9, 2020

    New Zealand Marks 100 Days of Virus Elimination: List of 10 COVID Free Countries Across the World

    New Zealand marked 100 days without community transmission of the COVID-19 on Sunday. Although the latest milestone is something to celebrate, the nation can't afford to let its guard down as countries like Vietnam and Australia which once had the virus under control are now battling a resurgence in infections.
    New Zealand, the Pacific island nation of 5 million people is now the safest place in the world right now.

    In a COVID-19 pandemic raging world, New Zealand has successfully kept the disease away from its shores, in the last 100 days.

    Although, New Zealanders have returned to normal life, the authorities are concerned that people were now refusing testing, not using the government contact tracing apps, and even ignoring basic hygiene rules.

    “Achieving 100 days without community transmission is a significant milestone, however, as we all know, we can’t afford to be complacent,” Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield said.

    “We have seen overseas how quickly the virus can re-emerge and spread in places where it was previously under control, and we need to be prepared to quickly stamp out any future cases in New Zealand,” he said.

    New Zealand has 23 active cases in managed isolation facilities, and 1,219 COVID-19 cases in all so far.

    Vietnam, which went for three months without detecting any domestic transmission, is now racing to control a new outbreak in Danang.

    Neighbouring Australia’s second-biggest city, Melbourne, has gone into a six week lockdown due to a surge in cases. The second wave of cases in Melbourne has been largely a result of lapses in quarantining.

    “For countries like Australia and New Zealand the source of such outbreaks is likely to be from managed isolation and quarantine facilities because of the large numbers of people held there and the multiple shifts of staff involved in looking after them,” said Michael Baker, Professor of Public Health at the University of Otago.

    There have been cases of returning New Zealanders sneaking out of quarantine, and other security slip ups.

    New Zealand last week ramped up testing at quarantine facilities and clinics, and started work on technology to track people using Bluetooth technology.

    Ardern kicked off her re-election campaign on Saturday calling it a ‘Covid election’.

    But a resurgence of cases due to “Covid fatigue” could spark a backlash against her, and give the opposition a chance to work their way back into the election contest.

    List of 10 countries which are COVID free

    1. Kiribati - Kiribati is a set of islands and is one of the poorest of all countries in the globe with a population of just 119,451 people.
    2. Marshall Islands - The Marshall Islands are a sprawling chain of volcanic islands and coral atolls in the central Pacific Ocean, between Hawaii and the Philippines, with a population of 58,413 (as of 2018 World Bank census).
    3. Nauru - Nauru is a tiny island country in Micronesia, northeast of Australia, with a population of 12,704 (as of 2018). Measuring just 8 square miles, Nauru is larger than just two other countries: the Vatican City and Monaco.
    4. Palau - Palau, officially the Republic of Palau, is an island country located in the western Pacific Ocean, with a population of 17,907 (as of 2018). It makes up part of the larger island group of Micronesia.
    5. Samoa - Samoa, officially the Independent State of Samoa and until 1997 known as Western Samoa, is an island country consisting of two main islands, Savai'i and Upolu, two smaller inhabited islands, Manono and Apolima, and several small uninhabited islands including the Aleipata Islands. The population of Samoa is 1.96 lakh (as of 2018).
    6. The Solomon Islands - The Solomon Islands is situated in the south-west Pacific Ocean, approximately 3,763 kilometers to the northwest of New Zealand, with a population of 6.53 lakh people (as of 2018).
    7. Tonga - A group of more than 170 islands spread over an area of the South Pacific roughly the size of Japan, Tonga is the last Polynesian monarchy. The population of Tonga is 1.03 lakh people (as of 2018).
    8. Turkmenistan - Turkmenistan is a country in Central Asia bordered by Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Iran, and Afghanistan - all countries with reports of coronavirus infections. Most of the land borders were closed more than a month ago, and in early February Turkmenistan cancelled many flights and all flights to and from China.
    9. Tuvalu - Tuvalu is an island country in the Polynesian subregion of Oceania, surrounded by the Pacific Ocean and situated about midway between Hawaii and Australia. It has a population of 11,508 people (as of 2018).
    10. Vanuatu - Vanuatu is in the southwestern Pacific Ocean. It’s made up of 13 main islands forming a Y-shape in the pacific and lies about 800 km/500 miles from Fiji. Vanuatu has a population of 2.93 lakh people (as of 2018).

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