Asia-Pacific

New Zealand is down to just one active coronavirus case

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Adern speaks during a national coronavirus update. Source: Getty

New Zealand is on the brink of being declared completely free of COVID-19.

New Zealand's COVID-19 eradication efforts have been so successful, there is now just one active case in the whole country.

Health officials announced the startling result on Friday as they also confirmed a seventh consecutive day without a positive test. Australia, by comparison, has 467 active cases although none in the ACT or NT.

The last remaining Kiwi with COVID-19 is an Auckland resident aged in their 50s, whose recovery will allow New Zealand to become the first country since the onset of the global pandemic to declare itself free of the disease.

On Friday, the NZ government relaxed its restrictions further, allowing gatherings of up to 100 people.

Finance Minister Grant Robertson said New Zealand "now has some of the most relaxed settings in the world".

"Because of our success in fighting this virus, our public health efforts to go hard and go early have allowed us to open up our economy much quicker than many other countries," he said.

"We are more liberal than Australia, Canada, Ireland, France, Italy, the Netherlands, the UK and the US to name a few."

The government will review its last remaining restrictions on 8 June.

Four months from an election, Jacinda Ardern's governing Labour party is taking fierce criticism from both governing partner NZ First and the opposition National party to remove all societal and business restrictions.

In total, 1,504 Kiwis have contracted the virus, with 22 deaths.

People in Australia must stay at least 1.5 metres away from others and gatherings are limited to two people unless you are with your family or household.

If you believe you may have contracted the virus, call your doctor (don’t visit) or contact the national Coronavirus Health Information Hotline on 1800 020 080. If you are struggling to breathe or experiencing a medical emergency, call 000.

SBS is committed to informing Australia’s diverse communities about the latest COVID-19 developments. News and information is available in 63 languages at sbs.com.au/coronavirus.

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