A man waits for his bus in Wellington.
A man waits for his bus in Wellington.
PIC: AFP

New Zealand reported no new cases of the coronavirus on Monday, marking a significant moment that indicated the country's bold strategy of trying to eliminate the virus was working.

It was the first time since the outbreak took hold in mid-March that the country has reported zero new cases.

Director-General of Health Ashley Bloomfield said the figures were clearly encouraging and a cause for celebration but it won't be known until later this week if new cases continue to pop up in the community.

New Zealand closed its borders and imposed a strict monthlong lockdown after the outbreak began.

The lockdown rules were eased a little last week to help reopen the economy, but many restrictions remain in place. Many businesses -including most retail stores and sit-down restaurants - remain closed, most school children are learning from home, and people are required to maintain social distancing.

New Zealand has reported nearly 1,500 cases of the virus and 20 deaths.

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