New Zealand: No Active COVID-19 Cases in Our Country

New Zealand declared no known active COVID-19 cases on Monday, with the country due to relax nearly all of its coronavirus restrictions.

A statement from the Ministry of Health said the last remaining case, a woman from Auckland, has now been symptom-free for 48 hours and is regarded as recovered.

Director-General of Health Ashley Bloomfield said the patient was now able to leave isolation and that having no active cases for the first time since February was "a significant mark in our journey."

It's been 17 days since New Zealand's last new case was reported, while 40,000 people have been tested in that time.

Social distancing measures dropped

With New Zealand's last known COIVD-19 patient recovered, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced that the country's social distancing restrictions will be dropped within a few hours.

The country's strict border restrictions will remain in place, including managed isolation and quarantine for travelers.

But the rest of the country's coronavirus measures will be lifted by midnight on Monday (1200 UTC) — meaning that public and private events can resume without curbs while the retain and hospitality industries can operate without social distancing measures.

New Zealand Rugby (NZR) said that fans will once again be allowed into stadiums this weekend for the start of the country's domestic rugby union competition.

Stamping out virus is 'sustained effort'

Prime Minister Ardern celebrated the milestone, but also urged caution and patience in the months ahead.

"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 said at a press conference. 

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