One country can finally say it’s gone back to normal. Except for border controls, New Zealand has officially lifted all social and economic restrictions after eliminating the coronavirus within its borders. As of today, the country has zero active cases. Public and private events, restaurants, the retail industry, and public transport have all returned to pre-pandemic protocols, and social distancing is now a thing of the past.
In a news conference, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said she had danced for joy at the news. “While the job is not yet done,” she said, “there is no denying this is a milestone…Thank you, New Zealand. We are confident that 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.”
New Zealand is expected to introduce a “travel bubble” with Australia, allowing tourism between the two countries, though no timeline has been set.
“We will need to move cautiously here,” said Ardern. “No one wants to jeopardize the gains New Zealand has made.”
To eradicate the virus, New Zealand implemented a 75-day lockdown, which shuttered most businesses and required everyone except essential workers to stay home.