NEW ZEALAND bas lifted all of its Covid-19 restrictions after the final person known to have been infected with the virus made a full recovery.
It means that the coronavirus has been effectively eradicated from the country’s shores.
As a result, the New Zealand government has moved to lift all restrictions on public events, which can now take place without social distancing in place.
As a result, sport stadiums will be able to host fans again without restrictions while pubs and other hospitality-led businesses can resume something approaching normal service.
The announcement comes 17 days after the last new case of Covid-19 was recorded in New Zealand.
It’s also the first time since late February that no new active cases were recorded.
Speaking at a news conference, New Zealand’s prime minister Jacinda Ardern said: “We are confident we have eliminated transmission of the virus in New Zealand for now, but elimination is not a point in time, it is a sustained effort.”
“We almost certainly will see cases here again … and that is not a sign that we have failed, it is a reality of this virus. But if and when that occurs we have to make sure and we are, that we are prepared.”
Watch: Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said Monday she was confident New Zealand has halted the spread of the coronavirus after the last known infected person in the country recovered https://t.co/2KNtIlbLvE pic.twitter.com/UCE2gSywM1
— TIME (@TIME) June 8, 2020
Despite the positive news, health officials have urged caution.
While New Zealand has closed its borders to everyone other than citizens and residents, come new cases of the virus could still be imported into the country.
Director-General of Health 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.”
New Zealand’s location and the decisiveness of Ms Arden, who implemented a strict lockdown early on, have been cited as key reasons for the country’s success in handly the virus.
Just over 1,500 people from New Zealand’s five million population have contracted the coronavirus with 22 deaths recorded to date.
The success witnessed in New Zealand will offer fresh hope to Ireland, where cases of Covid-19 continue to fall.
Leo Varadkar has already moved to accelerate the lifting of Ireland's lockdown measures.
There was one coronavirus death reported by health authorities yesterday and 25 new confirmed cases.
There have also been 1,679 deaths in Ireland and 25,201 cases — of which more than 90 per cent have recovered.