Amid the unprecedented outbreak of deadly coronavirus, New Zealand becomes one of the first countries outside China on April 27 to claim that it has “eliminated” the COVID-19 disease. At a news conference, New Zealand not only reported just two new cases of coronavirus with three “probable cases” but also eased restrictions from “level four” to “level three”. Even though New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said that though the country has “currently” eliminated, officials have warned that it does not mean that new COVID-19 cases have gone down to zero.
• We have achieved what we set out to under Alert Level 4 - a small number of cases, know where they are coming from and have the capacity for testing and contact tracing.— Unite Against COVID-19 (@covid19nz) April 28, 2020
• Please maintain physical distancing at Alert Level 3, don't congregate outside cafes, carparks etc.
The latest update from the Director-General of Health:— Unite Against COVID-19 (@covid19nz) April 28, 2020
• Today there are 2 new confirmed cases and 1 new probable case of COVID-19.
• The two confirmed cases can be traced to a known source, the probable case is still being investigated. pic.twitter.com/PWPxEnbFNZ
Marking New Zealand’s end to a strict lockdown, the country will resume some non-essential businesses, healthcare, and educational activities from April 28. Ardern noted that the New Zealand government is “opening up the economy” but they are not allowing people to resume their social lives. As of April 28, New Zealand has recorded a total of 1,472 cases of coronavirus cases with 19 fatalities and 239 active cases. According to reports, New Zealand’s Director-General of Health, Ashley Bloomfield, said that the fewer number of cases does give them confidence that the government has “achieved the goal of elimination”.
Bloomfield added that in this case, elimination does not mean there are no new cases arising in the country, but instead it implies the officials are well aware of where the coronavirus infections “are coming from”. New Zealand PM claimed victory against the battle of curbing the widespread community transmission of deadly COVID-19 and added, “we have won that battle”. However, Ardern cautioned that the citizens “must remain vigilant” regarding the highly contagious disease.
While New Zealand is well on its way to life to normalcy, after originating from China’s “wet markets”, the Coronavirus has now claimed 211,611 lives worldwide as of April 28. According to the tally by international news agency, the pandemic has now spread to 210 countries and has infected at least 3,064,902 people. Out of the total infections, 922,624 have been recovered but the easily spread virus is continuing to disrupt many lives. Major cities have been put under lockdown in almost all countries and the economy is struggling.