New Zealand eradicates COVID-19 with zero active cases reported

DY365
DY365
Published: June 8,2020 04:41 PM
DY365

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June 8, 2020: New Zealand reported zero active cases of COVID-19 for the first time since the pandemic reached its shores, indicating it has achieved its aim of eliminating the virus.

June 8, 2020: New Zealand reported zero active cases of COVID-19 for the first time since the pandemic reached its shores, indicating it has achieved its aim of eliminating the virus.



This makes it one of the few countries in the world to have successfully eradicated the pathogen, and the first among those that suffered a sizable outbreak. Only a handful of nations can make the claim, mostly small islands that had very few infections to begin with.



The development comes just hours before Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is expected to announce a lifting of all remaining restrictions on people and businesses - other than strict border controls to keep the virus out - paving the way for a resumption of normal life.



New Zealand pursued an explicit elimination strategy rather than seeking to merely suppress transmission of the virus. It enforced one of the strictest lockdowns in the world, asking everyone to stay at home and allowing only essential services to operate. While this has almost certainly triggered a deep recession, the government says elimination of the virus should allow the economy to recover more rapidly than many of its peers.



It is taking a cautious approach to the elimination milestone, however. The Ministry of Health's definition of elimination is 28 days of no new cases after the last person to have contracted the virus via community transmission left quarantine, which would be achieved on June 15.



The seven-week lockdown ended May 14 and cabinet will decide today whether to lower the nation's alert level to 1, which would remove the last remaining restrictions, including the requirement for social distancing. Ardern is scheduled to hold a press conference at 3 p.m. in Wellington.