New Zealand says it has stopped community transmission of Covid-19, effectively eliminating the virus.
With new cases in single figures for several days – one on Sunday – Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said the virus was “currently” eliminated.
But officials have warned against complacency, saying it does not mean a total end to new coronavirus cases.
The news comes hours before New Zealand is set to move out of its toughest level of social restrictions.
From Tuesday, some non-essential business, healthcare and education activity will be able to resume.
Most people will still be required to remain at home at all times and avoid all social interactions.
“We are opening up the economy, but we’re not opening up people’s social lives,” Ms Ardern said at the daily government briefing.
New Zealand has reported fewer than 1,500 confirmed or probable cases of coronavirus and 19 deaths.
New Zealand’s Director-General of Health Ashley Bloomfield said the low number of new cases in recent days “does give us confidence that we have achieved our goal of elimination”.
He warned that “elimination” did not mean there would be no new cases, “but it does mean we know where our cases are coming from”.