New Zealand has eliminated transmission of the coronavirus domestically and will lift all containment measures except for border controls, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said on Monday, making it one of the first countries to do so.
Public and private events, the retail and hospitality industries and all public transport could resume without social distancing norms still in place across much of the world, she said.
“While the job is not done, there is no denying this is a milestone … Thank you, New Zealand,” Ardern told reporters.
“We are confident we have eliminated transmission of the virus in New Zealand for now, but elimination is not a point in time, it is a sustained effort.”
“Today, 75 days later, we are ready,” Ardern told a news conference, announcing the government would drop social distancing restrictions from midnight on Monday and move to a level 1 national alert from Level 2.
Border controls would remain and everyone entering the country would be tested, she said.
“We will need to move cautiously here. No one wants to jeopardize the gains New Zealand has made,” she said.