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New Zealand to lift all restrictions as it declares itself virus-free

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New Zealand is set to lift almost all its coronavirus restrictions within hours as it reports there are no active cases in the country.

It will move to level one, the lowest of its four-tier alert system, at midnight local time (12:00 GMT).

Under this, social distancing will no longer be required and there will be no limits on public gatherings, but borders will remain closed.

New Zealand has reported no new Covid-19 cases for more than two weeks.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern told reporters she did “a little dance” when she was told the country no longer had any active virus cases.

“While we’re in a safer, stronger position there’s still no easy path back to pre-Covid life, but the determination and focus we have had on our health response will now be vested in our economic rebuild,” she said.

“While the job is not done, there is no denying this is a milestone. So can I finish with a very simple Thank you, New Zealand.”

New Zealand first went into lockdown on 25 March, setting up a new four-stage alert system and going in at level four, where most businesses were shut, schools closed and people told to stay at home.

After more than five weeks, it moved to alert level three in April, allowing takeaway food shops and some non-essential businesses to re-open. – BBC

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