Wellington, June 4 (IANS) New Zealand has planned to mark June 15 as the COVID-19 elimination day after health authorities detected no new coronavirus case for the 13th day in a row on Thursday.
The country, which has won global praises for its COVID-19 management, had reported the last positive case on May 22, reports Efe news.
A health ministry spokesperson told New Zealand Herald that the last community transmission case of a person, whose source of infection was not known, came out of isolation on May 18.
That could be be taken as the reference point for the 28-day coronavirus-free period to mark its elimination day, a health ministry spokesperson told Efe news.
That means that the period will finish on June 15.
“Elimination does not mean eradicating the virus permanently from New Zealand. It is being confident that we have eliminated chains of transmission in our community for at least 28 days and can effectively prevent or contain any future imported cases from overseas,” the spokesperson said.
New Zealand has so far confirmed 1,154 COVID-19 cases with 22 deaths.
Director-General of Health Ashley Bloomfield told reporters on Thursday that New Zealand was in the position now “that is the envy of many countries internationally and that is due to the hard work and sacrifice of so many Kiwis”.
He, however, stressed the need to maintain precautionary measures as the pandemic is still prevalent remains present exist in other countries.
Bloomfield said the international situation was still serious with June 1 marking the day when most cases were reported in a single day worldwide.
“If we want to stay in a good position here, we can’t act as if it’s all over globally,” he said.
The country announced the highest level of alert due to the pandemic in late April, which included strict restrictions and suspension of all its economic activities.
On June 15, the government is expected to announce the last phase of measures against the pandemic.
While restrictions are expected to be lifted, the country is most likely to keep its borders closed until further notice.