New Zealand will end its strict coronavirus lockdown rules from midnight after eradicating Coronavirus and having zero active cases.
The final patient, a woman in her 50s, recorded no symptoms for 48 hours, before being announced as recovered at St Margaret’s Hospital and Rest Home in Auckland on Monday.
Health authorities also confirmed no new cases for 17 days straight.
Making the announcement at a news conference on Monday, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said: “We have eliminated transmission of the virus for now. While the job is not done. This is a milestone,” she said, adding that lifting of restrictions will be effective from midnight on Monday (12:00 GMT).
The country will now move to a level 1 alert.
The move will allow weddings, funerals, hospitality, and public transport to resume without any restrictions from midnight on Monday. New Zealand’s borders will remain closed.
Moving to level 1 “is a statement that we have achieved the goal of eliminating the Covid-19 virus from this country,” said Michael Baker, Professor of Public Health at the University of Otago. “This is, however, only the first battle in what will be a long-term war against this virus. The threat from Covid-19 obviously remains while this pandemic continues across the globe.”
New Zealand, with a population of five million has recorded 1,147 Coronavirus cases, including 21 deaths.