New Zealand to lift all domestic COVID-19 restrictions from midnight

Tuesday, 09 Jun, 2020

This makes New Zealand one of the first countries to do so.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern told reporters confidently that New Zealand had halted the spread of the virus but it still needs to be cautious and prepared for more challenges.

Kiwi health authorities announced today the country's final case, a woman in her 50s from Auckland, was now virus-free.

The good news (purely coincidental timing, Director-General of Health Ashley Bloomfield insisted) added to the sense that the fates had aligned for Aotearoa.

The total number of cases in the country stands at 1,504 with 22 deaths.

"So I think in something like this we do have to manage peoples' expectations very carefully", he said.

"I've constantly had to stop and do the elbow-bump - somewhat unnatural".

"I think there's a lot of posturing going on but it may not be informed posturing, and that's the part to me that creates unreasonable expectations".

Otago University epidemiologist Professor Michael Baker said moving to level 1 was a "real achievement", and a statement that Covid-19 had been eliminated.

And there are early signs that New Zealand's status as a virus-free haven will work to its advantage. There were many congratulatory replies to Neesham's post but one user made a decision to give out an inane information on demography to the New Zealand cricketer, who came up with a hilarious reaction to the tweet.

As the battle against the virus comes to a successful conclusion, New Zealand's government has begun to focus on the burgeoning recession and the nature of their restrictive lockdown measures.

Ms Ardern did warn that we have likely not seen the end of Covid-19, however.

And surveillance testing at the border - which has found one positive test in an asymptomatic worker - will continue.

New Zealand's Health Ministry said on Monday that the last person who was being monitored for coronavirus had recovered. All rules are expected to be lifted, except the strict monitoring of borders. "The person has now been released from isolation", the health department said.

With National and New Zealand First both loudly advocating for a move to normality, and more than a fortnight without any new cases, it was hard to see any other outcome. "We want to stay there".

Jacinda Ardern also advised that people should keep an eye out for where they've been so that contact tracing can be done if a few cases of the virus return. Ardern said the toddler had no idea what was going on but was happy to join her. That's an improvement from 8.8 per cent below normal under Level 2, 19 per cent below normal under Level 3, and 37 per cent under Level 4.