New Zealand recorded no new cases of coronavirus on Monday for the first time since March 16 and less than a week after the end of the peaceful nation, which appears to have contained the epidemic.
Director General of Health Ashley Bloomfield said at a press conference that the result was cause for celebration, noting that the death toll remained at 20 with no further deaths linked to the virus.
“It is symbolic of the effort that everyone has made,” Bloomfield told reporters.
“This is the first day on which we have had no new cases and we want this to continue.”
On Tuesday, New Zealand ended a strict foreclosure that closed offices, schools, shopping malls, restaurants, playgrounds and all other public spaces for more than a month.
However, several social restrictions remain in place, with millions of New Zealanders working and studying at home, although some economic activities may have resumed.
Bloomfield warned that people must continue social distancing measures to ensure that COVID-19 does not return.
“These are clearly encouraging numbers today, but it is only a moment,” said Bloomfield.
“The real test is later this week when we take into account the incubation period of the virus and the time it takes people to display symptoms which is usually five to six days after exposure.”
The total number of confirmed cases in the country is 1,137, he said.
Foreign Minister Winston Peters on Monday backed calls for a so-called trans-Tasmanian bubble that would allow people to move between New Zealand and Australia, saying such an arrangement could work “seriously” “.
Australia has so far escaped the high number of casualties seen in other countries, with around 6,800 infections and 95 deaths.
The country recorded 26 new cases of coronavirus on Monday, including a seven-year-old boy in three states in the largest daily jump in two weeks.
A New Zealand rugby team has been given the green light to travel to Australia and begin training for a tournament while undergoing 14 days of quarantine.
“Officials in both countries are considering all aspects of the trans-Tasman concept and anticipate how it could happen more broadly,” said Peters.