New Zealand declares itself coronavirus-free, to lift all restrictions by midnight today

Wellington [New Zealand], June 8 (ANI): New Zealand’s health ministry on Monday said that it no longer has any active cases of the novel coronavirus.

The last case of the disease was reported on May 22 in the country, which implemented one of the toughest lockdowns anywhere in the world, Al Jazeera reported.

There’s a great deal of happiness for the Kiwis who have managed to stop community transmission of the coronavirus and will return to a near-normal life in a few hours. Globally, the picture doesn’t seem quite so encouraging with the number of cases now in excess of 7 million and the Americas being the new epicentre of the pandemic.

Some countries are looking to reopen though – the Indonesian capital, Jakarta, loosened restrictions on Monday morning.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern earlier today announced that New Zealand will lift its last remaining restrictions to curb the coronavirus at midnight (12:00 GMT) when the country will return to Level 1 on its four-level system of alerts.

Ardern said New Zealand had introduced a strict lockdown 75 days ago with the aim of getting to a level “where life feels as normal as it can in the midst of a global pandemic. Today, I can announce that the cabinet has agreed we can now move to Level 1.

International borders will remain closed given the challenge of COVID-19 around the world.

“There’s no denying this is a milestone,” Ardern said.

“Thank you, New Zealand,” she concluded.

The last Covid-infected patient was released from isolation after showing no symptoms for 48 hours.

“This is really good news for the person concerned and it’s also something the rest of New Zealand can take heart from,” Director General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield said in a statement.

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