- Melinda Murphy
No new cases!
Across the world, many countries are seeing the number of new cases of COVID-19 wind down into single digits over the last week. Four places—including a huge city like Hong Kong that was hit hard by the pandemic—are even celebrating zero new cases.
One of the most densely populated cities on earth, Hong Kong has now gone 22 days as of Monday without re-circulation of the virus within the country. The last new case was reported April 20th.
Medical experts have warned that people should keep their guard up, as hiking trails, restaurants, beaches, and parks open with fewer restrictions.
After easing restrictions in February, Hong Kong experienced a surge in new cases, suffering from the often-warned of “second wave” but has contained the virus very well since then.
Hong Kong’s chief executive Carrie Lam is in talks about freeing citizens from quarantine and travel restrictions between Macau and the Chinese Province of Guangdong according to South China Morning Post.
No COVID for Kiwis
Another nation that will likely soon declare mission accomplished against COVID-19 is New Zealand, which has ended stringent lockdown procedures less than a week ago after Monday passed without any new cases of the virus.
Arriving in mid-March, the coronavirus was responsible for 20 deaths in the Pacific island nation, and although lockdown restrictions are eased, many restaurants remain closed and social distancing is still encouraged.
However the director-general of health, Ashley Bloomfield says the milestone of no new cases is a cause for celebration and is “symbolic of the effort everyone has put in.”
New Zealand currently has a little over 1,000 cases confirmed in the country, and her westerly neighbor Australia is likewise carrying a light viral burden of 6,800 cases and 94 deaths according to Al Jazeera. Talks between the two nations may result soon, according to the New Zealand foreign minister Winston Peters in a trans-Tasman travel arrangement, whereby visitors of one country can visit the other freely, saying such an arrangement could work “seriously well.”
No New Cases in Montana or Hawaii
The islands of Hawai’i as recently as May 8th reported no new cases of the novel coronavirus. It’s the first time in two months the spread has halted completely.
Beginning May 18, governors will allow residents to seek reimbursement for expenses if people were impacted by official shutdown measures, which include rent and child care. These orders are beginning to be lifted, with low-risk business reopening.
Honolulu’s Director of Community Services Pamela Witty-Oakland says the capital is working with nonprofit groups like Aloha United Way, Helping Hands Hawaiʻi, and the Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement to provide financial support to the most vulnerable communities.
“These organizations will work with the families, and those affected. [They] will collect receipts and provide reimbursement of eligible household expenses of up to $1,000 a month, and eligible child care expenses of up to $500 a month,” she said.
Also free of new cases is Montana. The Big Sky State reports no new reports of patients with the virus. COVID-19’s effect in Montana has been so limited, that on May 7th schools were given the option of resuming normal operations.