New Zealand reports 1 more COVID-19 case as some expect loosening restrictions
New Zealand reported one more COVID-19 case on Thursday, bringing the total number of cases to 1,489, as some Kiwis and businesses look to further loosening restrictions in Alert Level 2, Trend reports citing Xinhua.
No more deaths were reported over the past 24 hours, with the death toll remaining at 21, Director-General of Health Ashley Bloomfield told a press conference.
The cases discovered this week were linked with previous cases, Bloomfield said, adding it was "exactly where we want to be".
Among all the cases in the country, 1,332 people had recovered from the virus, making up 89 percent, Bloomfield said.
He said a record of 7,000 COVID-19 tests were conducted on Wednesday, bringing the total number of tests to 168,023.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said at the press conference that Alert Level 2 will see significantly more activity open up across the country requiring New Zealanders to play it safe and remain vigilant so the virus doesn't bounce back.
"Every alert level to fight COVID-19 is its own battle. When you win one, it doesn't mean the war is over," Ardern said.
She said Level 2 is a safer normal designed to get as many people back to work as possible and the economy back up and running in a safe way.
"Strong public health measures such as physical distancing, good hygiene and contact tracing will be essential to making Level 2 work," she said.
"We will continue to act with caution and not move before it is safe to do, so entry into Level 2 could be phased, with higher risk activity occurring when there is stronger evidence it is safe to do so," the prime minister said.
The country moved from Alert Level 4 to 3 on April 28 and will stay for at least two weeks at Level 3 before a further review and Alert Level decision on May 11.