New Zealand Covid-free as last patient recovers

New Zealand Covid-free as last patient recovers

A woman feeds a ring-tailed lemur at a zoo in Bois de Vincennes, France, as the country reopens after a lockdown. REUTERS

Wellington, June 8

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced on Monday that the country would return to near-normality after the recovery of its last coronavirus patient and a total relaxation of social restrictions.

Jacinda Ardern, New Zealand PM

Today, 75 days after the first lockdown was put in place, we are ready. 

On Monday midnight, the country will move to alert level 1 (level 4 being total lockdown), removing almost all restrictions previously enforced to control the coronavirus pandemic, reports Efe new.

"Our goal was to come out the other side as quickly and as safely as we could. To a place where our borders continue to be our first line of defence, but all current rules and restrictions on businesses and services are essentially lifted," Ardern said at a press conference.

"Today, 75 days later (after the first alert level 4 lockdown was put in place), we are ready." All restrictions on the number of people at gatherings or funerals will be removed, as well as physical distancing rules, although this is still encouraged.

All economic activity can also resume. Residents are asked to keep tracking their movements, with a diary and the use of QR codes at public businesses and services. Borders, however, remain closed to almost all non-residents.

Although the government is in talks with Australia, there is no date confirmed for a trans-Tasman "travel bubble", with Ardern citing the fact that Australia is still registering community transmissions and the New Zealand government remains cautious.

"No one wants to jeopardise the gains that New Zealand has made," Ardern said. — IANS

Airlines oppose UK’s quarantine rule

London: The UK's compulsory 14-day quarantine for inbound travellers, by air, rail or ferries, came into force on the country's borders from Monday amid protests from the airline industry. As part of a phase by phase easing of the Covid lockdown within the country, all passengers – except a small number of exemptions for essential workers – will have to fill out an online locator form giving their contact and travel details and the address of where they will self-isolate for two weeks. PTI

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