New Zealand is launching a royal commission of inquiry into its handling of the COVID pandemic.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said the results of the inquiry will help future governments prepare for similar situations.
'We had no playbook by which to manage COVID but, as a country, we united in an extraordinary way, and we did save lives and livelihoods,' the prime minister said Monday.
Ardern said Monday that the COVID pandemic 'was the most significant threat to the health of New Zealanders and our economy since World War Two.'
New Zealand was widely heralded for the steps that it took that resulted in a low COVID infection rate. However, some New Zealand residents who were out of the country when the pandemic hit found that they had trouble returning home.
'New Zealand experienced fewer cases, hospitalizations and deaths than nearly any other country in the first two years of the pandemic but there has undoubtedly been a huge impact on New Zealanders both here and abroad,' Ardern said.
The inquiry will begin early next year and will be led by epidemiologist Tony Blakely.