Saturday, May 28, 2022

New Zealand lifts all Covid restrictions, declaring the nation virus-free

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New Zealand has lifted almost all of its coronavirus restrictions after reporting no active cases in the country.

At midnight local time (12:00 GMT), all of New Zealand moved to level one, the lowest of a four-tier alert system.

Under new rules, social distancing is not required and there are no limits on public gatherings, but borders remain closed to foreigners.

New Zealand has reported no new Covid-19 cases for more than two weeks.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern told reporters she did “a little dance” when she was told the country no longer had any active virus cases.

“While we’re in a safer, stronger position, there’s still no easy path back to pre-Covid life, but the determination and focus we have had on our health response will now be vested in our economic rebuild,” Ms Ardern said.

“While the job is not done, there is no denying this is a milestone. So can I finish with a very simple, ‘Thank you, New Zealand’.”

‘A sustained effort’

New Zealand first went into lockdown on 25 March, setting up a new four-stage alert system and going in at level four, where most businesses were shut, schools closed and people told to stay at home.

After more than five weeks, it moved to level three in April, allowing takeaway food shops and some non-essential businesses to re-open.

As the number of community cases continued to decline, the country moved into level two in mid-May.

The move to level one comes ahead of time – the government had originally planned to make the move on 22 June, but it was brought forward after no new cases were reported for 17 days

SourceBBC NEWS

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