New Zealand becomes coronavirus-free country; lifts all COVID-restrictions

New Zealand has declared itself free from coronavirus after no new cases were reported after May 22.

The country’s health ministry on Monday said that it no longer has any active cases of the novel coronavirus. New Zealand implemented one of the toughest lockdowns anywhere in the world, reported Al Jazeera.

At midnight local time (12:00 GMT), all of New Zealand moved to level one, the lowest of a four-tier alert system.

Under new rules, social distancing is not required and there are no limits on public gatherings, but borders remain closed to foreigners.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern told reporters “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.”

“While the job is not done, there is no denying this is a milestone. So can I finish with a very simple, ‘Thank you, New Zealand’.”

The last COVID-infected patient was released from isolation after showing no symptoms for 48 hours.