New Zealand no longer has any active coronavirus cases after the last known patient recovered from the disease, the country’s prime minister, Jacinda Ardern, has said.
As a result, social distancing restrictions will be lifted from midnight on Monday, as the country downgrades its national alert from level two to level one.
However, border controls will remain in place and everyone entering New Zealand will still be tested.
Ms Ardern told reporters on Monday: “While the job is not done, there is no denying this is a milestone … Thank you, New Zealand.”
“We are confident we have eliminated transmission of the virus in New Zealand for now, but elimination is not a point in time, it is a sustained effort,” she added.
The prime minister’s announcement came after 75 days of restrictions, including a strict seven-week lockdown during which everyone except essential workers was told to stay at home.
This is the first time that there have been no active Covid-19 cases since the virus reached New Zealand in late February. The country’s health ministry has recorded 1,154 infections and 22 deaths from the disease during that period.
The last coronavirus case was reported 17 days ago and 40,000 tests have been carried out since then.
New Zealanders celebrated the prime minister’s announcement, with her message trending on Twitter.
Ms Ardern admitted she did a “little dance” when she heard that the last patient had recovered, surprising her two-year-old daughter, Neve.