New Zealand's PM: All restrictions to be lifted as virus eliminated


Published: 2020-06-08 12:55

Last Updated: 2020-06-08 13:14

New Zealand's Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern
New Zealand's Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern

New Zealand's Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said on Monday, June 8, that all coronavirus measures in the country will be lifted from Tuesday, barring border closure restrictions, as the virus had been eliminated from the country.

The country would move to national alert level 1 from midnight on Monday, Ardern said in a news conference.

She said public and private events can go on without restrictions, retail and hospitality sectors can operate normally, and all public transport can resume.

The news came after New Zealand declared it has no active COVID-19 cases.

The country's final patient was given the all-clear and released from isolation, health authorities said Monday.

The milestone was "really good news" and an achievement the whole of New Zealand could take heart from, Ministry of Health Director-General Ashley Bloomfield said.

"Having no active cases for the first time since February 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," he said in a statement.

No new infections for 17 days

New Zealand has won praise for its handling of the pandemic, which involved a strict seven-week lockdown that ended last month after the virus was contained.

The South Pacific nation, with a population of five million, has had 1,154 confirmed cases and 22 deaths.

There have been no new infections for 17 days and, until Monday, just one active case for more than a week.

Details of the final patient were not released for privacy reasons but it is believed to be a woman aged in her 50s who was linked to a cluster at an Auckland nursing home.

"The remaining case has been symptom-free for 48 hours and is regarded as recovered. The person has now been released from isolation," the Health Ministry said.