New Zealand Beats COVID-19, Lifts Restrictions

The country has become the first one to do so after having no cases of COVID-19 for the past 17 days.
Fabienne Lang

New Zealand has lived up to its promise to "eliminate" the coronavirus. With no more active COVID-19 cases, the island nation has lifted almost all of its restrictions, becoming the first country worldwide to do so. 

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern made the statement on Monday. 

Only border controls remain in place at the moment. 


Life returning back to normal

This week has started off positively for those living in New Zealand. Public and private events, sporting tournaments, the retail and hospitality industries, and all public transport can resume as they were prior to the COVID-19 outbreak. 

"While the job is not done, there is no denying this is a milestone ... Thank you, New Zealand," Ardern told reporters.

"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," she continued. 

Ardern placed the country under strict lockdown that lasted seven weeks early on during the pandemic, and after 75 days of restrictions, the country is now opening up once again. 

The only remaining remnant of COVID-19 is that border controls would remain in place for anyone flying into New Zealand. Only residents are able to fly into the nation and have to adhere to a 14 day self-isolation system. 

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"This freedom from restrictions relies though heavily on the ongoing role that our border controls will play in keeping the virus out ... The virus will be in our world for some time to come," Ardern explained at a press conference Monday.

Ardern also said that she celebrated the good news that there were no more active cases of COVID-19 with a "little dance."

The nation confirms currently having no active cases of coronavirus, and no positive cases have been recorded for the past 17 days. No one has had to receive COVID-19 care in hospitals over the last 12 days, and 40 days have passed since the last community transmission. 

New Zealand has had 1,504 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 22 deaths related to it.