News World New Zealand says coronavirus 'eliminated', to lift most curbs

New Zealand says coronavirus ‘eliminated’, to lift most curbs

 

New Zealand has eliminated transmission of the novel coronavirus and will lift all containment measures except for border curbs, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said on Monday, making the South Pacific nation one of the first countries to do so.

The government will drop social distancing restrictions from midnight on Monday as it moves to a level 1 national alert from Level 2, Ardern told a news conference.

Public and private events, the retail and hospitality industries and all public transport could resume without social distancing norms still in place across much of the world.

“While we’re in a safer, stronger position there’s still no easy path back to pre-COVID life, but the determination and focus we have had on our health response will now be vested in our economic rebuild,” Ardern said.

“While the job is not done, there is no denying this is a milestone. So can I finish with a very simple ‘Thank you, New Zealand.'”

The South Pacific nation of about 5 million people is emerging from the pandemic while big economies such as Brazil, Britain, India and the United States grapple with the spreading virus.

“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,” Ardern added.

There were no active cases for the first time since the virus arrived in New Zealand in late February, the health ministry said. New Zealand has reported 1,154 infections and 22 deaths from the disease.

“Having no active cases for the first time since Feb. 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 Ashley Bloomfield, the director-general of health, said in the statement.

New Zealand has vowed to eliminate, not just contain, the virus, but the health ministry has been cautious about declaring victory.

It said elimination did not mean eradicating the virus permanently, but stopping “chains of transmission” for a period after the last infected person left isolation.

It also required New Zealand to “effectively prevent or contain any future imported cases from overseas”, it added in an emailed statement.

(Reuters)

Top Stories

273 new cases of COVID-19 our of 57,926 tests announced on Friday

The Health Ministry announced 273 new Coronavirus cases out of 57,926 PCR and rapid antigen tests on Friday, 5 March, taking confirmed infections to...

Very few COVID-19 confirmed cases found among students

The Health Ministry today carried out antigen rapid tests to the staff and students of private and public schools. In total 10,147 have been tested...

Niki Zarou files lawsuit against Yiolitis, Republic of Cyprus

Following the cancellation of the search warrant of her house in the case of the parody account on Twitter, under the title “Lady Emily...

Where to get a rapid test on Saturday, 6 March

Aiming at the continuous surveillance of the community and the workplaces, the free programmes of rapid antigen testing of the general population and employees...

The EU will never accept a two-state solution for Cyprus, Borrell underlines

Turkey and the Turkish Cypriot side must stay away from the rhetoric for two states in Cyprus, because such a form of a settlement...

Taste

Squash soup

Ingredients: 1 kg pumpkin, cut into small cubes, approximately 5 cups 2 medium (400g) sweet potatoes, cut into cubes, approximately 2 ½ cups 1 chopped leek, only...

Mezedes

No visit to Cyprus is complete without enjoying the traditional meal of many small dishes known as ‘meze’. This large feast, which has been a...

Prawns with fried cheese, barley shaped pasta

Put the barley shaped pasta into a small pan with salted water, bring to a boil and when tender, drain. Peal the prawns leaving...

Salmon and shrimp sheftalies

Mix all ingredients for tabbouli in a bowl and keep to one side so flavours can combine. Prepare the sheftalies: wash and soak the casing...