Thousands of Americans have visited New Zealand’s immigration website hoping to escape and ride out the coronavirus pandemic on the island — with a US citizen visiting the site at a rate of once every 30 seconds last month, new data shows.
More than 250,000 US natives have flocked to the country’s official immigration website to investigate whether they qualify to move to the land of sheep and rugby — which boasts low infection and fatality numbers, according to the New Zealand Herald.
New Zealand has reported just 1,560 confirmed COVID-19 cases and only 22 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University. Currently, the country has just 23 active cases, all in managed isolation, the Herald reports.
This compares to almost 4.5 million confirmed infections in the US and more than 150,000 deaths.
Last month, 112,800 more Americans visited the Immigration New Zealand site compared with the same time last year — a 160 percent spike, according to data cited by the Herald. This is the equivalent of one US user clicking on the site every 30 seconds, the outlet said.
“Middle class, professional America is saying, ‘Well, where do we go for our own safety and the safety of our families?’” said Paul Spoonley, a demographics expert from Massey University.
He cited a poor public health system and lack of federal leadership in the US amid the pandemic, and predicted the number of people immigrating to New Zealand from the states would increase.