New Zealand ‘eradicates’ coronavirus as last person with infection recovers
- Credit: PA
New Zealand has eradicated the coronavirus from its shores after health officials reported on Monday that the final person known to have been infected had recovered.
The news swiftly led to the country's government announcing all forms of public events can again take place without limitations or social distancing guidelines.
It has been 17 days since the last new case was reported in New Zealand, and Monday also marked the first time since late February there had been no active cases.
Health officials caution that new cases could be imported into the country, which has closed its borders to everybody but citizens and residents, with some exceptions.
'We are confident we have eliminated transmission of the virus in New Zealand for now, but elimination is not a point in time, it is a sustained effort,' New Zealand's prime minister Jacinda Ardern told a news conference.
You may also want to watch:
'We almost certainly will see cases here again ... and that is not a sign that we have failed, it is a reality of this virus. But if and when that occurs we have to make sure and we are, that we are prepared.'
Director general of Health Ashley Bloomfield said it was a significant development.
- 1 These are the 322 Tory MPs who voted against extending free school meals to children
- 2 Betty Boothroyd delivers scathing assessment of Boris Johnson's government
- 3 Who's on the BBC's Question Time tonight?
- 4 German MEP tells Boris Johnson he 'owes' Britons a Brexit deal as she urged a return to EU trade talks
- 5 Fool's gold? Nigel Farage wants you to invest your trust in his financial advice service
- 6 The deep roots of Dominic Cummings' personal antipathy to the BBC
- 7 Tory MP who voted against her own party to support free school meals motion quits government in protest
- 8 'Shameful' Tory minister defends government memo attacking Marcus Rashford's free school meals call
- 9 At the upcoming US election, Donald Trump really is toast
- 10 Political commentator delivers blistering response to Tory backbenchers offended by Angela Rayner's slur
'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,' Dr Bloomfield said.
The New Zealand government responded by removing all restrictions on public gatherings, meaning, among other factors, sport stadiums will again be able to hold fans without regulations about social distancing.
Experts say a number of factors have helped the nation of five million wipe out the disease.
Its isolated location in the South Pacific gave it vital time to see how outbreaks spread in other countries, and Ms Ardern acted decisively by imposing a strict lockdown early in New Zealand's outbreak.
Just over 1,500 people contracted the virus in New Zealand, including 22 who died.
Become a Supporter
The New European is proud of its journalism and we hope you are proud of it too. We believe our voice is important - both in representing the pro-EU perspective and also to help rebalance the right wing extremes of much of the UK national press. If you value what we are doing, you can help us by making a contribution to the cost of our journalism.