New Zealand to launch inquiry into handling of COVID19

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New Zealand to launch inquiry into handling of COVID19

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern speaks to the media at a press conference on COVID 19 restrictions at Parliament in Wellington on March 23, 2022. MARTY MELVILLE AFP WELLINGTON - The New Zealand government said on Monday it would launch an inquiry into the country's handling of the COVID 19 epidemic so future governments could learn from the experience.

A Royal Commission, a public inquiry of the highest level in New Zealand, will look at the overall response, the government said in a statement. That would include looking at economic measures, such as fiscal and monetary policy responses, without reviewing specific central bank decisions.

It had been over 100 years since we had a pandemic of this scale, so it's important that we compile what worked and what we can learn from it if it happens again.

The purpose would be to identify lessons that could be applied in a future epidemic.

It had been over 100 years since we had a Pandemic of this scale, so it's important to compile what worked and what we can learn from it if it happens again, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said in a statement.

A one-time poster child for tackling the coronaviruses, New Zealand's swift response to the epidemic and its geographic isolation kept the country largely COVID 19 free until the end of 2021, giving Ardern strong domestic support.

The protest over vaccine mandates for people working in sectors such as health and education and strict border closures prompted protests earlier this year. The government's financial response is now blamed by political opposition parties for contributing to three-decade high inflation.

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The review will be completed in mid- 2024, the government said.