The global fight against Covid-19 has achieved an applaudable milestone after New Zealand declared the country free of the virus and has proceeded to lift the lockdown protocol extended to the country.
Prime Minister of New Zealand, Jacinda Arden has made a public announcement that the lockdown protocol extended to the country will be lifted to allow the natives and economic activities to resume to the normal. The news comes after health officials of New Zealand reported recovery of the last Covid-19 patient known to the country. The country had directed its population of five (5) million into a period lockdown to curb the spread of the global pandemic.
Announcing the new step in a news conference on Monday, Prime Minister Jacinda Arden emphasized that the government of New Zealand would not sleep on its efforts at fighting the virus and promised to rebuild the economy of New Zealand that has slowed down because of the pandemic. She acknowledged that the country had eliminated the pandemic at the moment but also emphasized that more job needs to be done.
Thus, the achievement of the country is a mere milestone, she added. The Prime Minister concluded her announcement by giving recognition to the conduct of the population throughout the lockdown period, adding, “Thank you, New Zealand.” The lifting on the lockdown protocol takes effect from Midnight on Monday (12:00 GMT). In attendance at the news conference was Director-General of Health of New Zealand, Dr Ashley Bloomfield.
Speaking at the address, Dr Bloomfield said the development in the country’s fight against the pandemic extended a broad smile to his face. He acknowledged that the country would take steps to remove all Covid-19 related restrictions on shops, restaurants and offices while social distancing protocol wouldn’t be mandatory going forward even though it will remain encouraged. The last reported case of Covid-19 in New Zealand was received about 17 days ago, and Monday, also marks the first time since February 28th, the country recorded no active case of the pandemic.
Dr Bloomfield said, having no active cases for the first time since February 28th is arguably a significant mark in the country’s journey. However, as previously stated, ongoing vigilance against the pandemic will continue to be essential to the country, he added. The last patient to recover from the virus in New Zealand is a woman from Auckland. As the developments stand now, New Zealand joins few countries to report no known cases of the pandemic since it first emerged on the global scene, particularly from China.
New Zealand purports to have employed an elimination strategy to overcoming the global pandemic, instead of just aiming to contain the virus as identifiable to some countries. Commenting on the closure of borders, Prime Minister, Jacinda Arden said borders of the country remain closed, acknowledging the protocol (border closure) as the first line of defence against the spread of the pandemic. He further added that only citizens and residents, with some exceptions, can be allowed into the country.
The Health Ministry of New Zealand is reported to be cautious about declaring the country corona-free. The Ministry substantiates elimination from the eradication of the virus permanently. To the Ministry of Health, the country has fought to eliminate “chains of transmission” for at least 28 consecutive days after the last patient left isolation, which would be on June 15th. The Ministry has further urged the country to effectively prevent and contain any likely future imported cases from overseas. Case count of New Zealand numbered 1,500 patients and 22 deaths.
Experts have attributed the country’s achievement to its conducive isolation locations and strong leadership from the country’s Prime Minister. Prime Minister Jacinda Arden took an early intervention at imposing a strict lockdown right after the pandemic broke out. Meanwhile, Dr Bloomfield has acknowledged that the achievement of the country is a collective one and the rest of New Zealand can take heart in it.