Jacinda Ardern Says New Zealand Has ‘Beaten Coronavirus Again’
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says New Zealand has ‘beaten coronavirus again’, as Auckland prepares to lift restrictions.
The country’s biggest city experienced another spike in August, forcing its 1.5 million residents into another lockdown for three weeks to prevent nationwide transmission.
New Zealand’s five million people seemingly conquered the outbreak in May, following a strict lockdown that saw 102 days without transmission. After action was taken in Auckland, Ardern is confident that a second wave of COVID-19 has been curbed.
Auckland will join the rest of the country at alert level one from 11.59pm on Wednesday, October 7, after 10 consecutive days in the city without new cases, according to The Guardian.
During a press conference today, October 5, as per the NZ Herald, Ardern said:
I know for many, this one has felt harder, especially for Aucklanders. Despite that, Aucklanders and New Zealanders stuck to the plan that has worked twice now and beat the virus again. Our team of five million, a little more battle-weary this time, did what our national teams do so often: we put our heads down and we got on with it.
Ardern added ‘there is now a 95% probability of the cluster being eliminated’, and while ‘COVID-19 will be with us for many months to come… we should still mark these milestones’.
Moving to level one means there’ll be no limits on social gatherings, nor will there be any social distancing requirements in restaurants and bars. While masks will no longer be mandatory on public transport, Ardern urged New Zealanders not to be complacent, asking people to still wash their hands, scan QR codes and getting tested if they develop symptoms.
‘I don’t want anyone to think that because we’re at level 1 that COVID-19 is now absent from New Zealand,’ she added, saying that staying home while sick is an ‘act of public service’.
Commenting on the news, Dr. Jin Russell tweeted: ‘It is such an accomplishment that Auckland will join the rest of NZ in Level 1 on Wednesday midnight – a triumph of public health tracing and lab excellence, and the collective effort of many many NZers. Twice we’ve beaten back COVID-19; let’s keep it at the border now.’
Across the whole country, New Zealand has seen 1,855 confirmed cases of coronavirus and 25 deaths. Russell added: ‘NZ joins a handful of other countries who are literally writing the book on how to deal with this.’
Auckland Mayor Phil Goff said in a statement: ‘It’s great news for businesses, which will be able to trade again as normal under level one, providing a welcome boost for the economy. It’s also great news for Aucklanders who can enjoy gathering with friends and family and attending major events as normal.’
Following her worldwide-acclaimed response to the pandemic, Ardern’s government is expected to gain re-election in New Zealand’s upcoming general election on October 17.
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