New Zealand declares it is “virus-free,” reports no active coronavirus cases

Jun 8 2020, 1:48 pm

New Zealand has reverted to Alert Level 1 of its COVID-19 Alert System after health officials declared that the last known individual infected with coronavirus has now recovered.

The announcement was made in a press conference on Monday with Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Director-General of Health Dr. Ashley Bloomfield.

In the press conference, Ardern described how she was confident that the nation had ceased the further transmission of the virus, but that the country must still be on alert.

“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,” she explained. “We almost certainly will see cases here again … and that is not a sign that we have failed, it is a reality of this virus. But if and when that occurs, we have to make sure – and we are – that we are prepared.”

Now that the country has entered Level 1, all citizens and residents are permitted to return to work, school, and sporting events; conduct domestic travel without any restrictions; and host as many people as desired at public gatherings.

New Zealand borders will maintain the same protocols, including health screenings and testing for all arrivals, as well as a 14-day quarantine.

Citizens and residents are also urged to keep track of their movements to assist with contact-tracing efforts, with Ardern encouraging businesses to assist customers in keeping track of their locations by displaying the “NZ COVID Tracer QR code poster.”

NZ COVID Tracer is a mobile app that operates by scanning QR codes to help track where individuals have scanned to indicate where they have been to hinder the spread of coronavirus and track those who have been exposed.

 

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“We have a long road to travel yet, but for now, thank you New Zealand,” Ardern wrote in an Instagram post. “Everyone sacrificed a huge amount so that we could be in the position to lift restrictions today and announce that we have no active cases of COVID 19 for the first time since February. We aren’t finished, and while COVID is in the world we’ll have to continue our battle against it, but today was a milestone worth marking.”

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