"We have eliminated transmission of the virus for now. While the job is not done. This is a milestone."
Prime Minister Jacinda Arden has announced official uplift of lockdown from the country of nearly 5 million people. After its removal of the lockdown, the country will return to its nearly normal lifestyle. The news came after the final person to be suffering from COVID-19 has recovered in the country.
Making the announcement at a news conference on Monday, the Prime Minister confirmed that even after the removal of lockdown they will keep a close eye on any new cases reported and she also promised her nation that they will build the economy together again after its impact of a global pandemic.
"We have eliminated transmission of the virus for now. While the job is not done. This is a milestone," she said, adding that lifting of restrictions will be effective from midnight on Monday (12:00 GMT).
Concluding her statement, Adern said: "Thank you, New Zealand".
The happy Prime Minister also told the reporters after the press conference that she "did a little happy dance" after hearing that their country have no new cases reported. Director-General of Health Dr. Ashley Bloomfield, who was also at the media conference, said he "allowed himself a broad smile" at the development.
Following the orders, the country will remove its lockdown, and all its offices, businesses, restaurants, and public places will open. Also, people won't be required to observe social distancing although it will remain encouraged.
The last woman suffering was the city of Auckland and she has been discharged too after recovering.
It has been 17 days since the last new case was reported in New Zealand, and Monday also marked the first time since late February that there have been no active cases.
Director-General of Health Dr. Ashley Bloomfield, says it is a pleasing development, one they can take a sigh of relief over now, something "the rest of New Zealand can take heart in".
"Having no active cases for the first time since February 28 is certainly a significant mark in our journey, but as we've previously said, ongoing vigilance against COVID-19 will continue to be essential," Bloomfield said.
During the report of lockdown removal, officials eagerly stressed on the fact that the country will continue keeping a close eye on the virus, given the growth of virus globally in other countries.
Borders would remain closed, Ardern said, describing them as the "first line of defense". Only citizens and residents, with some exceptions, are currently allowed into the country.
The country of five million people has pursued an elimination strategy to beat coronavirus, rather than just aiming to contain the disease. But the health ministry has been cautious about declaring victory.
Elimination does not refer to breaking or removing the virus completely, instead, it refers to "breaking the chains of transmission" for at least 28 days after the last infected person would leave isolation which in this case would be June, 15, as officials reported.
It also required the country to be able to "effectively prevent or contain any future imported cases from overseas", it said in an emailed statement.
According to the experts, a number of factors that helped them win this battle against this deadly virus were their leadership shown by Prime Minister Jacinda Arden who imposed a strict lockdown as soon as cases started reporting in the country as well as its isolated location.
The number of people who contracted the virus was near to 1500 and around 22 people died from it.