(CMR) New Zealand reached a significant milestone today after announcing that it was removing all Covid-19 restrictions after going some two weeks without any new cases.
It lifted all of its coronavirus restrictions after reporting that it no longer has any active cases in the country. As of midnight (12:00 GMT) tonight, all of New Zeland will move to a level one, the lowest of the four-tier coronavirus alert system.
This is an immense accomplishment with all schools and workplaces being able to open. Weddings, funerals and public transport can resume without any restrictions. Despite social distancing is no longer being required it is still strongly advised.
During a press conference earlier today, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern told reporters she did “a little dance” when she was told the country no longer had any active virus cases. They have reported no new cases for two weeks and no longer have any active virus cases. Under the new provisions, social distancing is no longer required and there are no limitations on public gatherings. However, it's borders remain closed.
On the matter of re-opening their borders. Last month, Ardern said the country will not have open borders with the rest of the world for “a long time to come”. This has severely impacted the country's tourism industry. Tourism is one of New Zealand's biggest industries, directly employing almost 10% of the country's workforce, and contributing almost 6% of GDP.
Most visitors are from Australia, followed by China, the US, and the UK.
New Zealand went into lockdown on March 25 and like most places implanted the four-tier system after having it's first positive case on February 28. They were able to move into level two suppression in mid-May. The country entered level two earlier than originally anticipated after going 17 days without a new case at that time.
While the country proceeds with this declaration, epidemiologists caution New Zealanders about the need to remain COVID-19 free they must not become complacent. Elimination is defined as the absence of a disease at a national or regional level. Eradication refers to its global extinction (as with smallpox).
Elimination requires continual surveillance and trying to stop the unseen cases that are silently spreading in the community. Other countries claiming to have had reached levels of containment such as Singapore, SouthKorea and Australia have seen new outbreaks.