New Zealand has lifted almost all of its coronavirus restrictions after reporting no active cases in the country,for more than two weeks,while the rest of the world struggles to come to terms with the new reality that involves living with lockdown, social distancing, and life with Coronavirus for a long time to come.
New Zealand has recorded 1,154 confirmed cases and 22 deaths from Covid-19 since the virus arrived in late February. They first went into lockdown on 25 March, setting up a new four-stage alert system and going in at level four, where most businesses were shut, schools closed and people told to stay at home.
In April,it moved to level three,allowing takeaway food shops and some non-essential businesses to re-open.
As the number of cases continued to decline, the country moved into level two in mid-May.
The move to level one comes ahead of time as the government had originally planned to make the move on 22 June, but it was brought forward after no new cases were reported for 17 days.
Under the new rules, all schools and workplaces can open. Weddings, funerals and public transport can resume without any restrictions. Social distancing is no longer required but will be encouraged.
The country’s borders remain closed to foreign travelers, and rules remain in place requiring New Zealanders arriving from abroad to go through a 14-day period of isolation or quarantine.
Prime Minister Jacinda Arden warned that the country would “certainly see cases again”, adding that “elimination is not a point in time, it is a sustained effort.” “While we’re in a safer, stronger position, there’s still no easy path back to pre-Covid life, but the determination and focus we have had on our health response will now be vested in our economic rebuild,” Ms Ardern said.