Jacinda Ardern declares victory over coronavirus and may lift strict locking measures

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New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said the country was “turning the corner” on coronavirus after only 29 new cases were added to the count today.

Ardern said she was “cautiously optimistic” about the containment of the epidemic, which has so far caused only 992 confirmed cases and one death in New Zealand.

The official government count shows that only 12 positive tests were added to the figures yesterday.

The number of 29 confirmed or probable infections in the past 24 hours marks a fourth consecutive day of decline.

New Zealand confirmed its first case on February 26, but closed its borders on March 19 and began imposing a lock on March 26.

However, epidemiologists specializing in disease epidemics have warned that drastic decisions to close a country do not necessarily eliminate infections and could simply delay an outbreak.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern (photo) said the foreclosure of her country was successful after an astounding drop in daily business to just 29 Thursday

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern (photo) said the foreclosure of her country was successful after an astounding drop in daily business to just 29 Thursday

An empty Lambton Quay, Wellington's main shopping district, is seen on April 3 (photo) as the country locked out

An empty Lambton Quay, Wellington’s main shopping district, is seen on April 3 (photo) as the country locked out

This chart shows the daily number of confirmed cases every day in New Zealand, according to figures from the government's health ministry

This chart shows the daily number of confirmed cases every day in New Zealand, according to figures from the government’s health ministry

Ardern praised the New Zealanders for “breaking the chain” in the first half of a four-week lockout.

“Halfway through, I don’t hesitate to say that what the New Zealanders have done in the past two weeks is huge,” she said.

“Faced with the greatest threat to human health that we have known for more than a century, the Kiwis have discreetly and collectively established a national defense wall.

“You are breaking the chain of transmission. And you did it for each other.

Ardern says his government has yet to extend or ease the lockdown, which expires at midnight on April 22.

New Zealand began testing the virus as early as January 22, although it only confirmed a positive case on February 26.

The government then began to take drastic public health measures in mid-March, even when there were relatively few cases of the disease.

As of March 14, all new arrivals to New Zealand were ordered to self-isolate, while cruise ships were banned.

The country had only 32 cases confirmed on March 18, when Ardern announced that all non-residents and non-citizens were barred from entering New Zealand.

Gatherings of more than 100 people have also been banned since March 19.

Ardern announced a total lockdown on March 25, when 295 cases were confirmed.

Schools and non-essential businesses, including bars, restaurants and cafes, have been closed since March 26.

This graph shows COVID-19 infections since 100 cases were confirmed (top to bottom) in the United States, Spain, United Kingdom, South Korea, Australia, New Zealand and Singapore

This graph shows COVID-19 infections since 100 cases were confirmed (top to bottom) in the United States, Spain, United Kingdom, South Korea, Australia, New Zealand and Singapore

New Zealand is currently testing around 3,500 people a day, according to government figures.

In comparison, the UK carried out around 15,000 tests on Tuesday – only four times more for a population 13 times larger.

Britain should test nearly 50,000 people a day to match New Zealand’s screening level.

The testing regime in New Zealand has increased in recent days, with around 25,000 tests carried out since early April.

The government says it has more than 47,000 test kits in stock, almost as many as the 51,165 tests conducted to date.

New Zealand has also posted very detailed figures on its government website, including even suspected cases that have not been confirmed.

Each case is listed with an age group, approximate location and – if applicable – details of that person’s recent international trip, including their flight number.

Most countries have not published a suspicious case count. New Zealand has 1,239 cases if included, 992 of them confirmed.

A Kiwi has died to date, an elderly woman from the South Island. Health officials said she was around 70 years old and was originally diagnosed with the flu.

New Zealand police see vehicles stop on national road to Warkworth on Thursday (photo), ensuring that those traveling do so for essential reasons

New Zealand police see vehicles stop on national road to Warkworth on Thursday (photo), ensuring that those traveling do so for essential reasons

Experts agree that deadlocks “flatten the curve” in the short term, but some say that when lifted, a spike in cases will inevitably occur.

British government advisers have warned of a second wave of COVID-19 in the fall following the lifting of “very strict behavioral and social interventions”.

The SAGE group has not explained what the measures were or whether the UK had adopted them – but it is believed to include the foreclosure of entire regions, such as China.

The best scientists say the killer coronavirus could spread after a lock-up by infecting patients who didn’t know they had the deadly disease.

Cases could snowball in a few days, with the SARS-CoV-2 virus known to be at least twice as contagious as the flu and one patient transmitting it to about three others.

And COVID-19 patients can be asymptomatic for days, which means they unknowingly pass it on to others around them in the community.

Experts also warn that the blockages will be eased and re-authorizing international travelers to enter the country could lead to an increase in imported cases.

New Zealand blocked due to COVID-19, police (pictured Thursday in Warkworth) set up checkpoints to ensure people on the roads are traveling for essentials

New Zealand blocked due to COVID-19, police (pictured Thursday at Warkworth) set up checkpoints to ensure people on the roads are traveling for essentials

A nurse tests a member of the public during a visit to the COVID-19 test center in Northcross, Auckland on April 2 (photo)

A nurse tests a member of the public during a visit to the COVID-19 test center in Northcross, Auckland on April 2 (photo)

However, New Zealand will now implement new controls to limit the number of cases.

Friday, each newcomer will have to quarantine for fifteen days, which is similar to a measure in Australia.

The government will also turn to tracking applications to facilitate contact tracing, a model that has been praised in South Korea and Singapore.

There will also be roadblocks in New Zealand to prevent Kiwis from going to their beach houses or to visit family during Easter.

“As we head towards Easter, I say thank you to you and your bubble,” said Ardern, warning of complacency.

“We have what we need to win this marathon.

“You stayed calm, you were strong, you saved lives and now we have to continue. “

Police take extra precautions before Easter weekend, setting up traffic checkpoints to verify people are traveling for essential reasons (photo by Warkworth Thursday)

Police take extra precautions before Easter weekend, setting up traffic checkpoints to verify people are traveling for essential reasons (photo by Warkworth Thursday)

Wellington (photo) has been locked out since the start of the coronavirus pandemic (photo on April 3)

Wellington (photo) has been locked out since the start of the coronavirus pandemic (photo on April 3)

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