The Ministry of Health is confident New Zealand won’t see further Covid-19 community cases, as the country’s restrictions begin to lift.
It was revealed last week by the Prime Minister that the last case of community transmission, where the source was unknown, was early April. The country had gone three full cycles of transmission with no new community transmission cases.
As restrictions ease this Friday, with gatherings of up to 100 people permitted, there is some concern of community cases spiking.
Previously, there were no more than 10 people allowed to gather to help prevent the spread of the virus, aside from funerals and tangi, which were capped at 50.
But Dr Ashley Bloomfield says the biggest risk now lies outside of New Zealand’s borders. He told TVNZ1's Breakfast today he is confident an easing of gathering restrictions won’t cause an outbreak in the community.
“We’re very confident we won’t see cases emerge from within the community.”
Though, he says, the country’s border needs to remain watertight to ensure that.
“There is still a pandemic raging outside our shores so we just need to make sure our border is watertight.
“As we contemplate opening the border potentially first with Australia in a bubble-type arrangement, we’ve just got to be really sure everything is watertight there because that is the way a case could be introduced.”
He says New Zealand has done “phenomenally” well to get this far this quick, and has compared the results to that of the United Kingdom per capita.
“If we were the UK today we would have had 3500 deaths, we would have had 250 new cases just yesterday and we would still be in lockdown," says Dr Bloomfield.
"This is not a trivial thing that we have avoided."