New Zealand goes 100 days without a single domestic coronavirus case

New Zealand has gone 100 days without a single domestic coronavirus case.

The nation was placed in one of the world’s strictest lockdowns in March, and has now had no new cases of community transmission since May 1. That date was just 63 days after the country first reported a case of the virus among its population of 5,000,000.

Since then, there have been 22 deaths recorded, while the number of infections stands at 1,219, making it one of the safest places in the world for the virus.

New Zealanders have returned to normal life, but the authorities are continuing to issue warnings against complacency. There is concern that people may now refuse testing, not follow basic hygiene rules or forget to use government track and trace apps.

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Dr Ashley Bloomfield, Director-General of Health, said: ‘Achieving 100 days without community transmission is a significant milestone, however, as we all know, we can’t afford to be complacent.

‘We have seen overseas how quickly the virus can re-emerge and spread in places where it was previously under control, and we need to be prepared to quickly stamp out any future cases in New Zealand.’

New Zealand’s record comes just as Melbourne, in Australia, was placed in a six-week lockdown due to a resurgence in cases, which was blamed on a lapse in social distancing. Similarly, Vietnam is now experiencing an outbreak in Danang after going for three months without any new cases of domestic transmission.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has been praised for her response to the pandemic, in particular the country’s swift lockdown restrictions and border control management.

The nation enforced mandatory self-isolation for all international arrivals in March, despite having just six coronavirus cases at the time of the announcement. 

The borders were then closed completely for the first time in New Zealand’s history as the number of cases just passed 20.

Ardern then declared a State of National Emergency on March 25, and all citizens were locked down in their homes. The country then entered Alert Level 1, indicating the lowest threat to the population, on June 8.

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