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New Zealand eyes coronavirus elimination

Christian Fernsby ▼ | September 21, 2020
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern moved most of New Zealand to the lowest virus alert setting Monday, saying the country was edging towards eliminating coronavirus.
Minister Jacinda Ardern
Prime   Minister Jacinda Ardern
Ms Ardern announced New Zealand would from late Monday move down to virus level one in its four-tier alert system, except for Auckland, where the country's most recent outbreak emerged.

Topics: New Zealand

"Our actions collectively have managed to get the virus under control," said Ms Ardern, whose government has been widely praised internationally for its coronavirus response.

The decision means that mass gatherings, such as the first Bledisloe Cup rugby Test between the All Blacks and Australia in Wellington on October 11, can proceed without restrictions.

New Zealand has recorded just 25 deaths in a population of five million, with no new cases reported on Monday.

The virus was believed to have been eradicated at one point, with the country enjoying 102 days without community transmission after a strict national lockdown that ran from late March to late May.

Ms Ardern said elimination was still New Zealand's target.

"Analysis completed for the ministry of health suggests that by the end of this month, there is still a 50-50 chance of having eliminated Covid once again," she said.

But she said Auckland "needs more time" to eliminate a stubborn cluster of infections.


 

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