COVID-19: New Zealand is Now Free of Coronavirus, PM Jacinda Ardern Says

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New Zealand now has no reported cases of coronavirus, and its government said local time Monday. It was after the last active infected person recovered in 17 days with no emerging new infections.

According to local news, the country’s health ministry announced the latest recovery indicating the island nation could have eradicated the new disease after implementing one of the world’s most stringent lockdowns before a single death was confirmed.

“This is really good news for the person concerned, and it’s also something the rest of New Zealand can take heart from,” Director-General of Health Dr. Ashley Bloomfield said in a statement.

“Having no active cases for the first time since Feb. 28 is certainly a significant mark in our journey, but as we’ve previously said, ongoing vigilance against COVID-19 will continue to be essential.”

ALSO READ: COVID-19 Update: New Zealand Could Pull Off Ambitious Goal of Wiping out Coronavirus

On Monday, Jun. 8, the island nation marked yet another milestone: no new 17-day events. In all, since the first was announced on Feb. 28, New Zealand has seen 1,154 cases of coronavirus, and 22 confirmed deaths related to the new disease. 

ALSO READ: COVID-19: New Zealand Discharges The Last Coronavirus Patient From Hospital

Since the outbreak was detected, some 294,800 tests had been carried out across the world. The figure represents approximately six percent of the total population in the country.

But the country has not yet declared elimination as its Ministry of Health requires quarantine finishes of 28 days of no new cases after the last confirmed case via community transmission. The country is set to declare elimination on Jun. 15 if no further cases are discovered over the next week.

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New Zealand ‘s success in fighting COVID-19 has been achieved by introducing one of the most strict lockdown steps in the world, as well as its robust contact tracing program.

Citizens of the country recently endured five weeks of their lockdown at the level four phase. Restaurants were not even allowed to open for takeaway during that period, a deviation from the measures enforced by many other western countries.

New Zealand is currently still on level two, with Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern set to declare that the nation will switch to level one later this evening. New Zealanders should come back to life at level one before the infection, but with the advice to practice proper handwashing hygiene.

The Ministry of Health has continued to encourage New Zealanders to get tested, although no new cases have been seen for weeks.

“We want to encourage and remind everyone that if they have any respiratory symptoms, they should seek advice from Healthline, their GP or after-hours clinic about getting tested [for free],” the ministry said in a recent statement.

Ardern has drawn global headlines and praise from the World Health Organization for approaching the virus from her government, with a strict and cautious approach that seems to have paid off. She shut the country down for four weeks on Mar. 25, forcing most New Zealanders to stay at home most of the time, before slowly lightening restrictions.

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