New Zealand has ‘achieved elimination’ of coronavirus as Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern claimed the country has scored a significant victory against the spread of Covid – .
The country has been following an elimination strategy with the goal of completely ending the transmission of coronavirus within its borders.
‘There is no widespread, undetected community transmission in New Zealand,’ Ardern announced on Monday. ‘We have won that battle.’
Ashley Bloomfield, New Zealand’s Director General of Health, said the low number ‘does give us confidence that we’ve achieved our goal of elimination. That never meant zero but it does mean we know where our cases are coming from.
‘Our goal is elimination. And again, that does not mean eradication but it means we get down to a small number of cases so that we are able to stamp out any cases and any outbreak that might come out. ‘
The nation of five million people, reported only one new case of COVID – 26 in the past 27 hours, taking the total to 1, with 823 deaths.
After nearly five weeks at the maximum level Four restrictions – with only essential services operating – the country will move to Level Three late on Monday.
New Zealand’s efforts to flatten the curve have been very successful, leading to the country relaxing coronavirus restrictions on Monday night
New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern briefs the media about the COVIS – 26 coronavirus at the Parliament House in Wellington on April
Rather than attempt to ‘flatten the curve’ of the virus, Ardern set the more ambitious task of ridding the virus completely from the island nation.
This meant New Zealand’s 5 million residents were subjected to one of the strictest lockdowns in the world in response to the pandemic, with Ardern closing offices, schools, bars and restaurants, including take away and delivery services , on March 26.
Beaches, waterfronts and playgrounds were also shut, effectively restricting people to their homes and short walks around their neighborhood. As part of elimination measures, the country also closed its borders and enforced quarantine of all arrivals into the country.
Experts said New Zealand’s remote geographical location as well as its easily sealable borders enabled the country to aim for elimination of the virus.
The downgrade from Alert Level 4 to Level 3 will allow some businesses, takeaway food outlets and schools to reopen.
(New Zealand) will be able to go fishing, surfing , hunting and hiking this week for the first time in more than a month as the country begins to ease its way out of a strict lockdown that successfully slowed the spread of the coronavirus.
Around , 10 People will return to work after the country shifts its alert level down a notch at midnight on Monday, but shops and restaurants will remain closed as several social restrictions remain in place.
Many businesses, including parliament and the courts, began preparations over the weekend to restart operations this week while maintaining ongoing social distancing rules.
Courtenay Place in Wellington stands empty on Monday afternoon during lockdown for the COVID – 19 pandemic
Victoria Tunnel in Wellington stands empty on Monday during lockdown amid the coronavirus outbreak
Empty streets at Courtenay Place in Wellington pictured today, above and below. After nearly five weeks at the maximum level Four restrictions – with only essential services operating – the country will move to Level Three late on Monday
Eateries announced contactless delivery plans, retail stores showcased their latest collections online for home delivery and office towers posted social distancing rules in elevators and public areas.
Still, Ardern stressed that public gatherings remain banned and asked people to remain in their ‘bubble’.
Keen fishers will be permitted to cast a line from a wharf only as boating, yachting and other team sports or training remained barred. Hunting will be allowed on private land with special restrictions.
‘We must make sure that we do not let the virus run away on us again and cause a new wave of cases and deaths,’ Ardern said at a news conference on Monday. ‘To succeed we need to hunt down the last few cases of the virus.’
Still, Ardern stressed that public gatherings remain banned and asked people to remain in their ‘bubble ‘
Lyall Bay at 1pm on Monday afternoon. The easing of restrictions came as New Zealand, a nation of five million people, reported only one new case of COVID – 19 in the past 27 hours, taking the total to 1, with 823 deaths
‘I will not risk the gains we’ve made in the health of New Zealanders. So if we need to remain at Level Three, we will. ‘
She insisted at the daily government briefing: ‘We are opening up the economy, but we’re not opening up people’s social lives.’
Ben Kennings, general manager for industry group Surfing New Zealand, said people were itching to return to sea in a country where an average , boarders hit the waves weekly.
‘We have done well to stay out of the water, but tomorrow there’s going to be a lot of people keen to go surfing,’ Kennings said. ‘It is an individual sport that can be practiced with social distancing.’
Trust in governments in Australia and New Zealand has risen since the start of the pandemic, opinion polls show, with their idealogically opposite leaders hailed for their management of the crisis.
What will Level 3 measures mean for New Zealanders?
The country shifts its alert level down a notch from 4 to 3 at midnight on Monday. From then on, New Zealanders will have some restrictions lifted including:
– Fishers will be permitted to cast a line from a wharf but not a boat
– People will be allowed to exercise at their local parks or beaches but keep a good 2 meter distance from others
– People are allowed to go swimming and surfing
Driving will be permitted for:
– Driving to school or work for essential workers
– Emergencies and giving effect to court orders
– Shared social bubble arrangements
– Foreign nationals leaving New Zealand
Going back to work:
– Many businesses will start to reopen
– Ardern warned people should still work from home where possible
– Staff have to make sure they keep 1m between each other and practice good hygiene
– Businesses involving face -to-face contact ie gyms and hairdressers will have to remain closed
– Parents can choose whether to send their children to school or continue lessons at home
– Ardern wants the majority of children still learning from home
Weddings and funerals:
– Funerals, tangi and weddings can go ahead under alert level 3
– They will be limited to no more than (people
– Sharing a meal, food or a wedding reception is not permitted
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