KEY POINTS

  • The last COVID-19 patient in New Zealand left the Middlemore Hospital
  • The country has 21 active cases remaining, who are being monitored by health officials
  • Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern will also allow mass gatherings with 100 people by May 29

New Zealand has no more COVID-19 patients receiving treatment at its hospitals, and its health officials confirmed Wednesday (May 27) that there had been no new cases in the last five days.

The last COVID-19 patient was discharged from the Middlemore Hospital in Auckland. Only 21 active cases remain after 1,462 individuals have recovered from the virus since the pandemic struck, according to its health department director-general Dr. Ashley Bloomfield.

It comes a month after Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said that New Zealand has won against the coronavirus. But the country is still doing contract tracing and monitoring of the remaining cases as it launched the NZ COVID Tracer app for healthcare professionals.

Ardern placed New Zealand under Level 2 of its lockdown measures, which will run until June 22. By Friday (May 29), Ardern will also allow mass gatherings of up to 100 people from only 10 in the previous weeks.

"The increase in gathering size means we now have some of the most permissive settings of any of the countries we compare ourselves to, including Australia,” the prime minister said.

However, she reiterated that loosening the restrictions shouldn't mean that they have to be less vigilant and careful.

"We are still in a global pandemic,” the prime minister said. “Cases continue to grow overseas, and we still do have people coming home. But for the most part, many aspects of life can and should feel much more normal.”

Jacinda_Ardern New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has been praised for her leadership and management of the coronavirus pandemic. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Ardern received global praise for her response to the pandemic. She imposed a lockdown and closed the borders on March 19.

"Going hard and early [with lockdown measures] has paid off for the economy, and now we need to just continue the level of vigilance that has got us here,” Ardern said.

The prime minister also announced that she and the top officials of her government will take a 20% pay cut for the next six months in solidarity with “New Zealanders who are reliant on wage subsidies, taking pay cuts and losing their jobs as a result of COVID-19's global pandemic.”