Seventeen days of no new infections, and the last patient recovering on Sunday; New Zealand has officially become the first country to declare themselves ‘corona free’. With a total of 1504 cases and only 22 deaths, the measures taken by the government and Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern have clearly proven to be effective.

One of the most major reasons for success in New Zealand is the fact that action against the pandemic was taken almost immediately. The country was locked down on March 25 for four weeks, during which most New Zealanders were actually restricted at home, unlike the lax restrictions seen in other parts of the globe, including here at home.

These preventive measures undoubtedly went a long way in making sure that the virus never took a foothold in New Zealand. But it is equally important to take into account the specific geographical and situational factors that made New Zealand’s battle much easier compared to other countries. In particular, the 4.9 million inhabitants of the country – less than half the estimated population of Lahore – are advantaged by the low population density, which means that they are not nearly as tightly packed as people in Pakistan or many other states.

Nevertheless, most experts have agreed that New Zealand’s strict measures did indeed play a large part in bringing them to this point; where they can safely lift most restrictions without the fear of a renewed spread.

There are lessons of course here, for those that wish to see them. The most obvious one is of nipping the problem in the bud; quick and decisive action can go a long way in preventing the problem from getting out of hand. As far as things go in Pakistan, what can be remembered from New Zealand’s success is the fact that whatever step we choose to take, we must be committed, and not waver at the first sign of adversity. That is the only way to fight this relentless pandemic.