New Zealand Declared Covid-Free; Zero Cases Recorded

by Vaishnavi Venkataraman
New Zealand Declared Covid-Free; Zero Cases Recorded

While countries across the world continue to battle Covid cases, New Zealand has government announced that there are no known novel coronavirus cases in the country. The first Covid case in New Zealand was confirmed on 28 February. Reports suggest that the Auckland Regional Public Health has informed its last covid case to be symptom-free for 48 hours and has therefore been declared recovered.

The last patient in the country, a woman aged 50 recovered at St Margaret’s Hospital and Rest Home in Auckland on Monday, 8 June 2020. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern told news channels she did “a little dance” on hearing the great news.

“While we’re in a safer, stronger position there’s still no easy path back to pre-Covid life, but the determination and focus we have had on our health response will now be vested in our economic rebuild. “While the job is not done, there is no denying this is a milestone. So can I finish with a very simple Thank you, New Zealand,” she said.

How Was It Achieved?

New Zealand first went into lockdown on 25 March. The country set up a four-phase alert system, where most businesses were closed down, schools were shut and people were asked to stay home. After over five weeks, the country moved to phase three of restrictions in April, where takeaway food shops and some non-essential businesses reopened. This considerably brought down the number of cases and in May, New Zealand moved to the second phase of lockdown.

The move to level one was originally planned on 22 June, but was advanced after no new cases were reported in the country.

What’s Next?

As per the new rules, all schools, workplaces, weddings, funerals and public transport will resume without any restrictions. Social distancing will no longer be compulsory, but will still be encouraged. However, New Zealanders arriving from abroad will still have to go through a 14-day period of isolation or quarantine.

Ms Ardern further said the country would see cases again, adding that “elimination is not a point in time, it is a sustained effort”.