New Zealand clears its last COVID-19 case and will lift all coronavirus restrictions

WELLINGTON: New Zealand's Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said on Monday (Jun 8) that all COVID-19 measures in the country will be lifted from Tuesday, barring border closure restrictions, as the coronavirus had been eliminated from the country.

The country would move to national alert level 1 from midnight on Monday, Ardern said in a news conference.

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She said public and private events can go on without restrictions, retail and hospitality sectors can operate normally, and all public transport can resume.

Health authorites announced on Monday that the nation no longer had active COVID-19 cases after the country's final patient was given the all-clear and released from isolation.

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.

READ: New Zealand could lift all COVID-19 measures by next week: PM Arden

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READ: Crewcuts and catch-ups as New Zealand COVID-19 lockdown ends

"Having no active cases for the first time since Feb 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.

New Zealand 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, with a population of five million, has had 1,154 confirmed cases and 22 deaths.

READ: Commentary: Contact tracing holds key to eliminating COVID-19 in post-lockdown New Zealand

There have been no new infections for 17 days and, until Monday, just one active case for more than a week.

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