Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced the news and claimed the country owed its citizens for cooperating with lockdown restrictions.
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has truly lead her country to victory. Officially declaring the nation free of active and known cases of Coronavirus, she announced that New Zealand would finally be easing the tough lockdown restrictions the government imposed when the pandemic first began to set in, The Guardian reports. For many other countries across the world still battling the virus, New Zealand is a shining example of what is possible when you have strong, effective leadership and listen to expert advice from medical professionals. Ardern affirmed at a press conference, "We are ready." New Zealand truly is.
😷 “We are confident we have eliminated transmission of the virus in New Zealand for now.”— Bloomberg QuickTake (@QuickTake) June 8, 2020
🇳🇿 Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced that all remaining #Covid19 restrictions will be lifted at midnight tonight. More @business: https://t.co/tTPVu3esH3 #COVID19nz pic.twitter.com/zNdfEJ9KFv
The Prime Minister claimed that the country was able to defeat the virus and successfully crush the curve because its citizens had "united in unprecedented ways." Over the past few weeks, Ardern has garnered high praise from folks all over the globe for her tough restrictions. The country went into a strict lockdown for four weeks beginning on March 25. Before gradually easing these restrictions, New Zealanders were told to confine themselves to their households as much as possible. It appears that the government's plan has paid off. The nation reported only 22 deaths as a result of the disease while the total number of diagnosed instances of the virus never crossed 1,500.
New Zealand has eliminated transmission of the coronavirus and will lift all containment measures except for border curbs, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says, adding that she "did a little dance" upon hearing that the country had no active cases. https://t.co/VJfvXaKH4D pic.twitter.com/K1bGoVPHp9— ABC News (@ABC) June 8, 2020
In comparison, the United States crossed the 100,000 death toll mark several days ago. Numerous people continue to succumb to the illness on a daily basis. This situation is similar in other "developed" nations in Europe and elsewhere. Had New Zealand not gone into lockdown during the early stages of the pandemic, scientific models predict that the death toll would have been much higher than what it stands at today. According to Prime Minister Ardern, the government's lockdown succeeded due to the cooperation of the country's citizens, who "massively reduced their movements." As per data from Google Maps, New Zealanders stayed at home far more than citizens of Australia, Britain, and the United States had.
"Our collective results I think speak for ourselves," Ardern affirmed. "This was what the sacrifice of our team of five million was for – to keep one another safe and to keep one another well." She has, on a regular basis, referred to the country as her "team of five million." This is because she believes (as scientists suggest) that defeating a public health crisis requires the cooperation of everyone. Nonetheless, she did not claim that New Zealand had outright "eliminated" or "defeated" the virus. Due to the nature of the disease, this simply is not possible until a cure or vaccine is discovered. She stated, "We [will] almost certainly see cases here again. That is not a sign that we have failed; it is a reality of this virus."
New Zealand now joins a handful of countries that claim they are virus-free. Taiwan, Iceland, Cambodia, and Trinidad and Tobago have all reported fewer than 10 active cases. The Faroe Islands reported zero cases on May 8. Montenegro, the small European nation, was marked free of the virus on May 25 and Fiji joined the trio on June 5. Meanwhile, the number of confirmed cases of the virus had surpassed seven million on Monday. Nevertheless, New Zealand's accomplishment is a cause for celebration and an acknowledgment that the pandemic can be defeated. So what did Prime Minister Ardern do when she heard the news? "I did a little dance," she said.