In a significant moment, New Zealand on May 4 recorded zero cases of the novel coronavirus in the country that indicated bold and drastic containment strategies that led to the elimination of the COVID-19 disease in the region, reports confirmed. For the first time since mid-March, no new case of the coronavirus was detected across the nation making it “COVID-19-free", the health ministry told a news conference on Monday.
With a death toll as low as 20, Director General of Health Ashley Bloomfield announced that New Zealand has witnessed no additional virus-related fatalities since March 16. The total tally of the disease infections stands at 1,487, he informed the press conference. Further, he said, it was “symbolic” of the effort the country’s administration, healthcare, and frontline system and the citizens had put in. It was the first day of recording zero cases in New Zealand, and the country wants to keep it that day before it restores normalcy, Bloomfield said.
With several social restrictions in place, New Zealand eased the “strict” lockdown to stem the rate of transmission and death rate, late last week. While the offices, schools, shopping malls, restaurants, gyms, and other public premises and recreational centres resumed, millions of New Zealanders continued isolation, stay-at-home orders, and worked from home, according to local media reports. Bloomfield warned that the New Zealanders had to adjust in the “new norms” despite the ease of containment measures to ensure that the second-wave did not hit the country while speaking at a COVID-19 press conference.
Further warning, he said, the “real test” was later this week when the health experts determine the incubation period for the novel coronavirus as they monitor asymptomatic or pre-symptomatic cases. The rate of transmission and the spread of the virus would be made clear in five to six days analyzing whether or not people displayed the symptoms or were exposed, he explained. In a positive development, a New Zealand rugby team was permitted to travel to Australia to begin training for a tournament while undergoing 14 days of quarantine, as per media reports.