New Zealand lifts lockdown as zero new coronavirus cases reported
New Zealand has overcome the novel coronavirus.
The country’s Ministry of the Health said on Monday the last known infected person in the country has recovered and it reported no new COVID-19 cases.
This follows more than two months of lockdown measures. Many schools and businesses across the country were closed and citizens were asked to stay home.
But now the island nation received the green light to reopen.
“I did a little dance in the lounge when I heard there are no more active cases,” New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said in a press conference Monday.
“In the past 17 days, they have tested 40,000 and none of them was found positive,” she said.
New Zealand’s reopening rules permit weddings, funerals and the operation of public transport.
Businesses and workplaces are also allowed to reopen, which has store owner and Wellington resident Lakhwinder Singh particularly happy.
“I have three to four employees working in my store. They all are more blissful than me because they will (return) back to work,” he said.
New Zealand has confirmed 1,504 coronavirus cases and 22 deaths resulting from COVID-19 since Feb. 28, when a passenger returning to Auckland from Iraq tested positive for the virus.
The country has been widely praised for its handling of the pandemic, which included a four-stage alert system that tightened and loosened restrictions as needed.