New Zealand Has Officially Ended Lockdown With Zero Active Cases
When the clock struck midnight in New Zealand, people celebrated a very important milestone.
For the first time in weeks, the country was finally out of coronavirus-related lockdown.
Level 1 has been introduced after New Zealand recorded zero new coronavirus cases and the final active case was declared recovered. It's one of only nine countries in the world with no active cases, according to the New Zealand Herald.
The final patient in New Zealand was a woman in her 50s, but she then recorded no symptoms for 48 hours and was therefore declared recovered.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has advised that people should keep an eye out for where they've been so that contact tracing can be done if a few cases of the virus return.
She said: "Now under level 1 you can go back to your place of work, If we get one or two cases in the future - which will remain possible for some time to come due to the global situation and nature of the virus - we need to shut down those cases fast. The last thing ... we want to do is move up the alert level system again."
New Zealand's Director General of Health, Ashley Bloomfield, added: "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.
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Michael Baker, a Professor of Health at the University of Otago, said that whilst the news was positive, it represents 'only the first battle in what will be a long-term war against this virus.'
"This risk will rise again in New Zealand as we gradually increase the numbers of incoming travellers. It will also rise during the coming winter when coronaviruses are more transmissible," he said.
There will be no restrictions on weddings and funerals and all businesses can operate as normal. The only thing that will remain from the coronavirus for now will be the closed borders.
New Zealand endured a strict four-week lockdown in March once the virus started to rear its head in the country. The borders were shut on March 19 and there is hope that Australia and New Zealand will open up travel in the coming weeks or months.
The government put in place a four stage alert system as things were heating up. Level Four required every person to stay inside, which was slowly rolled back as the infection rate dropped.
Featured Image Credit: PA