New Zealand on Sunday marked 100 days since it was able to effectively eliminate the spread of coronavirus.

The South Pacific nation suppressed the spread of the virus by implementing a strict lockdown — that closed the borders to foreign nationals — after only 100 people tested positive in late March.

During the past three months, the only new cases that have cropped up were among returning travelers who were quarantined at the border of the country, which is home to 5 million people.

Customers at a cafe enjoy lunch in the sunshine in Christchurch, New Zealand, Sunday, Aug. 9, 2020. New Zealand marked a 100 days of being free from the coronavirus in its communities Sunday, Aug. 9, with just a handful of infections continuing to be picked up at the border where people are quarantined. (AP Photo/Mark Baker)

Customers at a cafe enjoy lunch in the sunshine in Christchurch, New Zealand, Sunday, Aug. 9, 2020. New Zealand marked a 100 days of being free from the coronavirus in its communities Sunday, Aug. 9, with just a handful of infections continuing to be picked up at the border where people are quarantined. (AP Photo/Mark Baker)

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The country has reported just over 1,500 COVID-19 cases and only 22 deaths after the stringent lockdown.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced in early June that officials were “confident we have eliminated transmission of the virus in New Zealand for now.”

She has been widely praised for her leadership as other countries look to the nation for answers as they battle the virus.

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“It was good science and great political leadership that made the difference,” said epidemiologist Michael Baker, a professor at the University of Otago. “If you look around the globe at countries that have done well, it’s usually that combination.”

This article first appeared in the New York Post.



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