Coronavirus is "currently" eliminated in the country, according to Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.
New Zealand has announced easing its restrictions to Level 3 from Level 4 as the country’s latest coronavirus figures have gone down to single digits. In a recent news conference, it has been announced that New Zealand has 1 new case, 4 “probable” cases, and 1 new death.
The reports have prompted Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern to comment that coronavirus has “currently” been eliminated, although she continues to warn everyone to never let their guards down.
“Elimination means we may well reach zero but we may well then have small numbers of cases coming up again, that doesn’t mean we have failed, it just means that we are in the position to have that zero tolerance approach to have a very aggressive management of those cases and keep those numbers low and fading out again.”
The female leader also expressed appreciation for the cooperation of citizens, pointing out, “It’s been nearly 5 weeks living and working in ways that just two months ago would have been impossible. But we did. And we have done it together.”
The first coronavirus case in New Zealand was reported on February 28, 2020. By March 14, the country began implementing a strict 2-week isolation and after several days, foreigners were already barred from entering.
On March 23, Ardern implemented a level 3 lockdown as 102 confirmed cases and 0 deaths have been reported in the country. Two days later, the government announced a level 4 lockdown, requiring people to stay home at all times, only allowing them to go out for valid reasons.
New Zealand also gained attention globally for being one of the countries with the most aggressive testing rates with about 8,000 tests being processed each day.
Ardern has continued to remind the public to get tested if they are experiencing any symptoms. “Let’s make sure that we keep those testing rates up… that’s how we’ll finish this job,” she said.
Director General Ashley Bloomfield of the health ministry explained that the decreasing number boosts their confidence in achieving their main objective –to eliminate the virus.
“That doesn’t mean eradication but it means we get down to a small number of cases so that we are able to stamp out any cases and any outbreak that might come out,” remarked Bloomfield.
As of April 28, New Zealand has reported a total of 1,472 confirmed COVID-19 cases with only 19 deaths and 1,214 recoveries.
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