New Zealand is seeing light at the end of the tunnel when it comes to the coronavirus pandemic. The last patient in the country suffering from COVID-19, a woman in her 50s, has officially recovered. This means that there are currently no active cases in New Zealand and, therefore, they can end their lockdown.
Not only are there no active patients in the country, but there have also been no new cases reported in the last 17 days. This is great news for New Zealand, which had a four-week lockdown in March. Since that time, the government has slowly been easing measures as part of a four stage alert system. As the number of cases continued to decrease, the country moved from stage four to stage one. Now, stage one is officially over and people can resume life as it was before.
In fact, the only restriction still in place is that the borders, which closed on March 19, will continue to be shut. Otherwise, people are free to move about and conduct their daily business. Not only does this mean that people can go back to the work, but that weddings and funerals can take place. Pubs and restaurants can open and public events can be held.
While this is certainly cause for celebration, officials warn that people need to remain vigilant in taking precautions as the virus still circulates the globe. “Having no active cases for the first time since February 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,” says Ashley Bloomfield, New Zealand's Director General of Health.
Officials also expect that there will be an increase in cases once international travelers are allowed back in the country and during the winter season, when viruses are more transmittable. But for now, Kiwis can rest easy knowing that their sacrifice in lockdown has paid off.