Wellington, Apr 27: New Zealand's Prime Minister Jacinda Arden announced on Monday that her country has "won the battle" against the widespread undetected community transmission of COVID-19, paving the way for the government to gradually ease the tough lockdown restrictions beginning Monday night.
Briefing the media, Arden said that "There is no widespread undetected community transmission in New Zealand. We have won that battle. But we must remain vigilant if we are to keep it that way,". According to the prime minister, New Zealand has "avoided the worst" in the situation with the pandemic thanks to relevant quarantine measures, CNN reported.
In March, the government had implemented a four-tier alert system over the growing number of COVID-19 cases in the country and introduced the highest level of threat response with the toughest restrictions on people's movements in the modern history of the island nation. On Monday at midnight, New Zealand will lower its lockdown level from 4 to 3, allowing retailers, restaurants and schools to reopen on a smaller scale.
'We are opening up the economy, but we’re not opening up people’s social lives,' she said, noting that some restrictions on public life will remain in place due to the risk of a new wave of the pandemic. Currently, the total confirmed or probable cases of COVID-19 in New Zealand stands at 1,469, with one case confirmed over the past 24 hours. The death toll remains at 19. (UNI)