As the novel coronavirus continues to spread around the world, with the U.S. and Brazil being the heart of the epidemic at the moment, New Zealand has reported no new cases of COVID-19 for the fifth day in a row!
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern cheered the public up by saying that it looks like it won’t be long before trans-Tasman travel is able to resume.
What’s even more important, though, is that New Zealand has nobody in hospital diagnosed with COVID-19 at the moment, as the last remaining hospital patient was discharged in the country’s capital last night. This is a massive success for the Oceania country, which has been widely praised for its response to the global pandemic.
Even though New Zealand confirmed its first case back in February, it closed its borders on March 19, and imposed a full-on lockdown on March 26.
With the recent success, the lockdown could be totally scrapped within weeks, and gatherings of up to 100 people have already been permitted. To add to that, plans have been made to re-open travel to Australia.
Even though there are still 21 people infected with the virus at the moment, none of them are sick enough to need hospital treatment, and only three new infections have been discovered since May 11.
Another rather astonishing fact is that there have only been 21 fatal cases in the country, and all of them have been people aged 60 or over – with more than half of them being over 80.
According to PM Jacinda Ardern, the country could move to the lowest, Level 1 alert, as soon as next month.
Weddings, funerals, and church services with up to 100 people have also been allowed.
This is what one of the most-praised Prime Ministers said during her most recent press briefing:
“The fact that we are even making these decisions shows the success we’ve had to date as a country in fighting the virus. In fact, the increase in gathering size means we now have some of the most permissive settings of any of the countries we compare ourselves to, including Australia.
Going hard and early has paid off for the economy, and now we need to just continue the level of vigilance that has got us here.
We are still in a global pandemic. Cases continue to grow overseas, and we do still have people coming home, but for the most part, many aspects of life can and should feel much more normal.”
New Zealand is about to have an election in September, and Jacinda Ardern’s re-election seems as certain as ever, mostly because of her leadership during the largest health crisis the world has seen in years. Her Labour Party had 57 percent in a recent opinion poll, and Ardern was at 60 percent in the preferred choice for PM.