Wellington, New Zealand:
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern set up New Zealand’s lowest virus alert on Monday, saying the country is moving towards eliminating Kovid-19.
Aderan announced that New Zealand would be moving to virus level one in its four-level alert system, leaving Auckland on Monday, where the country’s most recent outbreak occurred.
“Our actions have collectively succeeded in bringing the virus under control,” said Ardern, whose government has been widely praised internationally for its coronovirus response.
The decision means that mass events, such as the first Blissylo Cup Rugby Test between All Blacks and Australia in Wellington on 11 October, can proceed without restriction.
New Zealand has recorded just 25 deaths in a population of five million, with no new cases reported on Monday.
The virus was believed to have been eradicated at one point, with the country enjoying 102 days without community broadcasting following a strict national shutdown lasting from late March to late May.
Ordering said elimination was still New Zealand’s goal.
“An analysis completed for the Ministry of Health suggests that by the end of this month, there is a 50-50 chance of Kovid being terminated once again.”
But she said Auckland “needs more time” to eradicate a stubborn cluster of infections that was found in the city of 1.5 million last month.
“It was the epicenter of the outbreak and therefore caution is needed here,” she said.
The origin of the Auckland cluster remains unknown, but health officials say it is not the same strain of the virus experienced earlier this year.
Despite the mystery, Ardern said extensive testing and effective contract tracing kept it contained.
Auckland’s alert will go down slightly from 2.5 to two on Wednesday, meaning that the maximum number of social gatherings increases from 10 to 100.
The city’s virus setting will be reviewed in two weeks, with the possibility that it may join the rest of the country on 7 October.
(This story has not been edited by NDTV employees and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)