PM Ardern claims New Zealand free of COVID-19-free; admitted to ‘a little dance’ with her baby
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said her government is confident that the country has ‘eliminated transmission’ of the coronavirus.
“We are confident we have eliminated transmission of the virus in New Zealand for now,” she said in a televised address, saying Kiwis had “united in unprecedented ways to crush the virus”.
When asked about her reaction upon hearing the news, she responded, “I did a little dance” with her baby daughter.
“She was caught a little by surprise but she joined in, having absolutely no idea why I was dancing around the lounge.”
The milestone was “really good news” and an achievement the whole of New Zealand could take heart from, health department director-general Ashley Bloomfield said.
“Having no active cases for the first time since February 28 is certainly a significant mark in our journey but, as we´ve previously said, ongoing vigilance against COVID-19 will continue to be essential,” he said in a statement.
On a broader level, Ardern said easing restrictions would help New Zealand’s economy.
“We now have a head start on economic recovery because at level one we become one of the most open, if not the most open, economies in the world,” she said.
The prime minister said modelling showed the economy would operate at just 3.8% below normal at Level 1, compared with a 37% impairment at Level 4 lockdown.
New Zealand health authorities on Monday announced that the country had no active cases of
The country of five million has won praise for its handling of the pandemic, which involved a strict seven-week lockdown that ended last month after the virus was contained.
The South Pacific nation has had 1,154 confirmed cases and 22 deaths.
There have been no new infections for 17 days and, until Monday, just one active case for more than a week.
New Zealand’s move down to Level 1, the lowest rating on its four-tier virus response system, means nightclubs can operate without dance floor restrictions and theatres will reopen.