New Zealand is now coronavirus-free – Prime Minister

by Maruf Adedeji

New Zealand’s Prime Minister, Jacinda Arden, said on Monday 8 June 2020 that New Zealand has eliminated transmission of the coronavirus domestically and would therefore proceed to lift all containment measures except for border controls.

Arden, 39, said there was no more restriction imposed on public and private events including all the retail and hospitality industries and all public transport.

While noting the efforts were not completely done, she acknowledged the country’s milestone achievement so far in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic.

The country with about 5 million people is emerging from the pandemic while big countries such as Brazil, Britain, India and the United States grapple with the spreading virus.

New Zealand’s new gains against coronavirus infection largely came after 75 days of restrictions. An instance was a nearly seven-week lockdown in which everyone had to stay at home except essential workers.

Ardern said at a news conference on Monday 8 June 2020, that government would drop social distancing restrictions from Monday midnight and move to a level 1 national alert from level 2.

Border controls would remain and everyone entering the country would be tested, she said.

New Zealanders cheered the lifting of restriction measures and the topic immediately trended on Twitter.

New Zealand has reported 1,154 cases and 22 deaths from the COVID-19.

Opposition parties have however been critical of Ardern’s decision to keep restrictions for so long despite no record of new cases recorded for 2 weeks.

As it stands, New Zealand has no active cases for the first time since the first case was recorded in the country in February.

Ardern said she did a “little dance” when she was told there were no more active cases in New Zealand, surprising her 2-year-old daughter, Neve.

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