New Zealand says it has stopped community transmission of Covid-19, thus effectively eliminating the virus.
With just one case on Sunday after single digit figures for several days – Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said the virus was “currently” eliminated.
But officials have warned against complacency, saying it does not mean a total end to new coronavirus cases.
Prime Minister Ardern told media at the daily government briefing “We are opening up the economy, but we’re not opening up people’s social lives.”
New Zealand has reported fewer than 1,500 confirmed or probable cases and just 19 deaths having brought in very stringent travel restrictions early on in the pandemic.
The PM said there was “no widespread undetected community transmission”, adding “We have won that battle,” but that they “must remain vigilant if we are to keep it that way”.
The country brought in some of the toughest restrictions in the world on travel and activity early on in the pandemic, when it only had a few dozen cases.
It closed its borders, enforced quarantine of all arrivals into the country, brought in a stringent lockdown and undertook extensive testing and contact tracing.
Beaches, waterfronts playgrounds schools and officies were all shut on March 26th.
Modelling has indicated that New Zealand could have had more than 1,000 cases a day if it had not brought in the lockdown so early.
New Zealand now moves from Level Four lockdown to Level Three. That means most businesses will be able to reopen – including restaurants for takeaways.
Mass gatherings are still banned, shopping centres remain closed and most children will remain away from school. New Zealand’s border will remain closed.
Covid 19 coronavirus: NZ could have been faced with 1000 cases a day https://t.co/2xzH45HEL8
— nzherald (@nzherald) April 27, 2020