New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says country is COVID-19 free
New Zealand has announced that it will be lifting the nationwide lockdown on the country on Monday,
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, who declared that the country is now COVID-19 free, said the country’s strict border controls will remain but all other restrictions will be lifted.
New Zealand recorded its first case of the disease on February 26 and was placed under lockdown in March.
The country recorded 1504 COVID-19 cases and lost 22 people to the disease.
Schools, offices, restaurants will be opened and there will be no limitations on gatherings.However, social distancing is still encouraged and international borders will remain shut to non-residents to prevent new outbreaks.
The prime minister said no new case has been reported in 17 days and no patient is receiving treatment at hospital for the disease.
The last COVID-19 patient was discharged in May.
“We have tested almost 40,000 people for COVID-19 in the past 17 days and none have tested posted. We had no one in the hospital for COVID-19 for twelve days. It’s been 40 days since the last day of community transmission; 22 days since the person finished self- isolation,” she said.
“And so today, I can announce the cabinet as agreed that we will now move to level 1 to get our economy fully opened again.
“Our goal was to come out the other side, as quickly and as safely as we could, to a place where our borders continue to be our first line of defence.
“But all current rules and restrictions on businesses and services are essentially lifted.
“Today, 75 days later, we are ready.”
Ardern said citizens of the country had “united in unprecedented ways to crush the virus’’ but needed to remain vigilant.
“We have won the battle but we must remain vigilant if we want to keep it that way,” she said.
“We almost certainly will see cases here again. That is not a sign we have failed, it is a reality of this virus.
“While we’re in a safer, stronger position there’s still no easy path back to pre-COVID-19 life but the determination and focus we have had on our health response will now be vested in our economic rebuild.”