World Health Organization singles out New Zealand, praising COVID-19 response

The World Health Organization (WHO) has singled out New Zealand in a tweet praising the country for successfully eliminating community transmission of COVID-19.

New Zealand's last community-based case, which was linked to the St Margaret's Hospital and Rest Home cluster, recovered on June 8.

Since then the country has recorded over 20 new cases of coronavirus, but all have been imported by international travellers and were caught in managed isolation or quarantine at the border.

However, coronavirus is continuing to escalate in other parts of the world including Australia, with Melbourne announcing a new six-week lockdown on Tuesday after a recent surge in cases.

On Sunday the WHO shared a video of New Zealand's response to the pandemic, praising the "range of measures to contain the virus".

"#NewZealand followed WHO guidance on isolating cases, reducing contact and testing, and successfully eliminated community transmission of #COVID19" WHO said.

The video shows the country going into lockdown on March 25, the surge in cases and the fall as the lockdown measures began to work.

It also features the Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield and the Prime Minister's Chief Science Advisor Dr Juliet Gerrard.

"Were we overreacting? Some people said we were," Dr Gerrard says.

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus was among 119,000 people who saw the video. 

"The people & government of #NewZealand, led by @jacindaardern, have shown #COVID19 can be overcome through commitment, action & vigilance. Testing, contract tracing & clear communication to the public are hallmarks of the country's successful response," he said in a retweet.

This isn't the first time New Zealand has been praised by the WHO, in May Emergencies Programme executive director Dr Michael Ryan said they had seen several countries who have been "very systematic with a very comprehensive strategy" to fight the disease including New Zealand.

"I think of countries like New Zealand who have really done the lot and they've gone from public health measures to a very graded response to very systematic case finding and contact tracing to a high rate of testing.

"When all of those factors have been put together, the disease tends to be more controllable."