- The Washington Times - Monday, April 27, 2020

The coronavirus outbreak in New Zealand has been “eliminated,” officials announced Monday, but they encouraged the population to continue vigilance to resist a resurgence of the virus.

New Zealand has reported 1,469 confirmed cases of COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the new coronavirus, 19 deaths and 1,180 recoveries, according to the Johns Hopkins University tracker. New Zealand has a population of 5 million.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced that the country on Tuesday will ease some of its strictest social restrictions that will allow some nonessential businesses, and certain health care and education facilities to reopen, the BBC reported.

“We are opening up the economy, but we’re not opening up people’s social lives,” Ms. Ardern said during a briefing Monday.

She explained that officials have not seen “widespread undetected community transmission” in the country.

“We have won that battle,” she said, adding that people “must remain vigilant if we are to keep it that way.”

New Zealand’s Director-General of Health Ashley Bloomfield said that the limited number of new cases the country has seen recently “does give us confidence that we have achieved our goal of elimination.”

But he cautioned that while elimination doesn’t rule out new cases, “it does mean we know where they are coming from.”

• Lauren Toms can be reached at lmeier@washingtontimes.com.

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