New Zealand has achieved a goal of elimination of the novel infection following days of reporting single-digit cases, said the top health official Ashley Bloomfield on Monday.
Following the good news, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said her Cabinet would discuss the next move May 11, but level 3 restrictions could be extended if the trend reverses.
Monday briefing brought relief, confirming that New Zealand is ready to move from alert level 4 at 11:59 p.m. local time Monday, enabling some non-essential businesses to reopen.
According to top health official Ashley Bloomfield, “we have achieved our goal of elimination” of the novel pathogen following days of reporting single-digit cases.
“There is no widespread undetected community transmission in New Zealand,” PM Ardern said. “We have won that battle. But we must remain vigilant if we are to keep it that way.”
A level 3 will allow some businesses, takeaway food outlets and schools to reopen. However, PM Ardern warned there was no certainty about when all transmission can be eliminated, allowing a return to normal life.
Everyone wants to “bring back the social contact that we all miss”, she said, “but to do it confidently we need to move slowly and we need to move cautiously.”
“I will not risk the gains we’ve made in the health of New Zealanders. So if we need to remain at Level Three, we will.”
As of Monday morning, New Zealand reported one COVID-19 case, taking its total to 1,122. Over months, the novel pathogen originated in China, has killed 19 New Zealanders.