Hawaii is seeing positive results from social distancing and has “flattened the curve,” Gov. David Ige said Monday.
Between Sunday and Monday, the state had just one new case of the new coronavirus, COVID-19, and had no new cases on May 3.
“The numbers continue to look very good,” Ige said in a statement on Monday. “With only one new case announced today, we are confident that we have flattened the curve.”
Hawaii has had a total of 621 COVID-19 cases since Feb. 28, and 17 people had died from the virus. The island state has one of the lowest case totals in the U.S., and likely benefited from its relative isolation.
Two other islands have similarly low outbreaks — Australia and New Zealand. The small nation of New Zealand, which has just under 5 million residents, went into a strict lockdown in March and reported no new cases of COVID-19 on Monday after weeks of minimal numbers. The rate of infection is similarly low in Australia, which has a population of 25 million. The country had 25 new cases on Tuesday, and has not had more than 26 new cases a day since April 19.
The two nations are now considering forming a “travel bubble” that would allow residents to fly across the Tasman Sea between Australia and New Zealand, but not to any other countries.
“Both our countries’ strong record of fighting the virus has placed us in the enviable position of being able to plan the next stage in our economic rebuild and to include trans-Tasman travel and engagement in our strategy,” New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said Monday, according to The Washington Post.
The move would allow the countries to resume their usual tourism levels and get back to their rugby rivalry.
Hawaii is also working on reopening. Ige allowed several non-essential businesses, such as florists, car dealerships and golf courses to resume this week, but warned that if they see a second wave of COVID-19 cases they will have to reevaluate the decision.
The state is also hopeful that the University of Hawaii will be able to have in-person classes when the school year begins on August 24.
“There is still great uncertainty but plans for the state are now taking shape and we have ourselves learned much over the last two months,” said the university’s president Dr. David Lassner. “Now, more than ever, the people of Hawaii need the opportunity to affordably engage in higher education to advance their careers and their lives.”
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