The Director-General of the World Health Organisation (WHO) has praised New Zealand as a "global exemplar" in the fight against Covid-19 in a speech.
Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, speaking to media overnight, said the world is closing in on 20 million registered cases of Covid-19, with 750,000 deaths from the virus.
Dr Ghebreyesus acknowledged that "this is a difficult moment for the world" and that many people are grieving and living difficult lives.
However, he said "there are green shoots of hope, and no matter where a country, a region, a city or a town is - it's never too late to turn the outbreak around.
"There are two essential elements to addressing the pandemic effectively:
"Leaders must step up to take action and citizens need to embrace new measures.
"Some countries in the Mekong Region, New Zealand, Rwanda, and many island states across the Caribbean and the Pacific were able to suppress the virus early.
"New Zealand is seen as a global exemplar and over the weekend Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern celebrated 100 days with no community transmission, while stressing the need to remain cautious."
Dr Ghebreyesus went on to say that "strong and precise measures" are needed in all countries where the virus is present, and that even when community transmission is ongoing, it's never too late to turn around the spread of Covid-19.
"Even in countries where transmission is intense, it can be brought under control by applying an all of government, all of society response," Dr Ghebreyesus said.
"Chains of transmission have been broken by combination of rapid case identification, comprehensive contact tracing, adequate clinical care for patients, physical distancing, mask wearing, regular cleaning of hands and coughing away from others.
"Whether countries or regions have successfully eliminated the virus, suppressed transmission to a low level, or are still in the midst of a major outbreak; now is the time to do it all, invest in the basics of public health and we can save both lives and livelihoods."
The Director-General said the countries that have successfully suppressed Covid-19 are now using a risk-based approach to re-opening segments of societies, including schools, but warned that they must remain vigilant for any resurgence.
"We all want to see schools safely reopened but we also need to ensure that students, staff and faculty are safe. The foundation for this is adequate control of transmission at the community."