New Zealand Lifts All Coronavirus Restrictions After Reporting No Active Cases (Video)
"Public transport and travel across the country is fully opened,” Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said.
New Zealand declared the coronavirus contained in the country on Monday, reporting no active cases and eliminating restrictions on gatherings and services.
The country moved to Level 1 of its COVID-19 alert system, appearing to have totally eradicated the virus. While there are no restrictions on moving throughout the country, New Zealand’s borders do remain shut to international visitors, The Associated Press noted.
For Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, the progress was worth noting — and celebrated with a little dance in her living room with her daughter.
“Everyone sacrificed a huge amount so that we could be in the position to lift restrictions today, and announce that we have no active cases of COVID 19 for the first time since February,” Ardern wrote in an Instagram post. “We aren’t finished, and while COVID is in the world we’ll have to continue our battle against it, but today was a milestone worth marking.”
New Zealand’s last new case of COVID-19 was reported 17 days ago, according to The AP, and this is the first time since late February there have been no active cases in the country. In total, New Zealand had recorded 1,504 confirmed cases of the virus, including 22 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University.
“We can hold public events without limitations. Private events such as weddings, functions, and funerals without limitations,” Ardern told the wire service. “Retail is back without limitations. Hospitality is back without limitations. Public transport and travel across the country is fully opened.”
While New Zealand is currently out of the woods, Level 1 still calls for “intensive testing” and “rapid contact tracing of any positive case.”
The landmark comes after New Zealand started easing restrictions in late April, initially asking people to stick to their social bubbles, but allowing them to leave home as long as social distancing was maintained.
Ardern has also floated the idea of a four-day work week, suggesting it could potentially help boost domestic tourism. A total of 60 percent of the country’s tourism comes from domestic travel, the prime minister explained, and The AP noted the tourism industry accounts for about 10 percent of the economy.