A week after declaring itself COVID-19 free, New Zealand reports two new cases
A week after declaring itself COVID-19 free, New Zealand reports two new cases
CHANG W. LEE

Days after declaring itself COVID-19 free, New Zealand reported two new cases, both recently travelled from the UK. This ended a 24-day streak of no new cases in the island country.

New Zealand's Health Ministry said that both the cases are connected and had recently travelled from the UK.

New Zealand had lifted all the restrictions except border controls last week after it declared that the country had reported no new cases in the last few days and hence declared itself COVID-19 free. New Zealand became on of the first countries to return back to normalcy after pandemic hit the world.

Well, PM Jacinda Ardern had, however, warned the nation that new cases may come up when New Zealander return home.

On June 8, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern while declaring New Zealand COVID-19 free said that she was confident the country had halted the spread of the coronavirus after the last known infected person in the country recovered.

It had been 17 days since the last new case was reported in New Zealand, and June 8 also marked the first time since late February that there have been no active cases.

New Zealand has tested almost 40,000 people in the past 17 days and no one has been in a hospital with COVID-19 for 12 days, Ardern said at a news conference.

She also announced the Cabinet agreed to another phase of the country's reopening at midnight.

"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," she said.

"We almost certainly will see cases here again, and I do want to say again, we will almost certainly see cases here again, and that is not a sign that we have failed, it is a reality of this virus. But if and when that occurs we have to make sure and we are, that we are prepared." Experts say a number of factors have helped the nation of 5 million wipe out the disease.

Its isolated location in the South Pacific gave it vital time to see how outbreaks spread in other countries, and Ardern acted decisively by imposing a strict lockdown early in the outbreak, including closing its borders.

Just over 1,500 people contracted the virus in New Zealand, including 22 who died.

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