New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern. EFE / EPA / DAVID ROWLAND (EFE Agency)
New Zealand doctors declared the last patient infected through a local outbreak free of COVID-19 on Wednesday, while another 37 cases classified as imported infections remain active in the country.
The city of Auckland, which with 1.7 million inhabitants is the most populous in the nation, will resume normal practice at midnight after overcoming a re-outbreak of the virus that forced the authorities to decree a second quarantine in mid-August.
“It is a great milestone. New Zealanders have once again succeeded, through their actions, in squashing the virus. The systems we have developed and strengthened since the first wave of COVID-19 have been effective in tracking the virus, isolating it and eliminating it, ” said Health Minister Chris Hipkins.
The Auckland outbreak of COVID-19 was detected in four members of the same family and then the outbreak spread to cause 179 infections, in addition to seven other local infections linked to a group of people who returned from abroad.
Minister Hipkins clarified in a statement that he expects the Auckland outbreak to be officially “closed” in four weeks – or two incubation periods for the new coronavirus – if no infection is recorded from this outbreak.
New Zealand has accumulated a total of 1,505 infections since the beginning of the pandemic, including 25 deaths and of which 37 cases among people from abroad are still active.
The oceanic country, which declared the first lockdown on March 25 when it only had 50 confirmed cases and returned to the new normal on June 8, entered a technical recession last month after falling 12.2% in the second quarter of 2020 to in the wake of the harsh restrictions imposed.
The nation holds general elections on the 17th of this month, in which the prime minister, Labor Party member Jacinda Ardern, starts as the favorite to revalidate her position for a three-year term.