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Coronavirus: New Zealand says COVID-19 ‘not completely eradicated’ after confusion over ‘elimination’ comments

'The Ministry wants to restate comments made yesterday (April 27) about elimination as they may have caused some confusion about what it means for Level 3,' New Zealand's health ministry said

Coronavirus New Zealand says COVID-19 not completely eradicated after elimination comments
Auckland, First Published Apr 28, 2020, 1:55 PM IST
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Auckland: After reports emerged that New Zealand had claimed it had “eliminated” coronavirus (COVID-19) from the country, it has on Tuesday (April 28) clarified about the “confusion” caused by “elimination” comments.

There were many media reports around the world stating that New Zealand had claimed “elimination” of the virus. However, the New Zealand health ministry said the virus is “not completely eradicated”.

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“The Ministry wants to restate comments made yesterday (April 27) about elimination as they may have caused some confusion about what it means for Level 3. First of all, a reminder that we will still see cases of COVID-19 under an elimination goal. It is not completely eradicated. To date, we have been considering elimination in the context of Level 4,” the health ministry said in a media statement.

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“As the Director-General said yesterday, this has meant we know where our cases come from, we have the ability for ongoing and extensive testing and we can contact trace for a significant number of cases. However, we do still have cases of COVID-19 occurring and we have seen from overseas experience how quickly case numbers can rise again if we take our foot off the pedal.

“While we have made good progress to arrive at Level 3, we are by no means in the clear. Elimination is not a point in time. It is a sustained effort to keep it out and stamp it out over many months. It’s crucial that all New Zealanders remain vigilant and follow the guidelines for Level 3, including physical distancing, keeping to our bubbles, practicing good hand hygiene and if you are unwell, stay away from others and seek medical advice,” it added.

New Zealand on Tuesday said there were two new confirmed cases of COVID-19 to report and one new probable case. 

“Two of today’s cases can be traced to a known source. One confirmed case is linked to the Marist cluster in Auckland and the other confirmed case is linked to the Gladys Mary Rest Home in Hawke’s Bay. The probable case (from South Canterbury) is currently under investigation,” the health ministry said.

It added, “This means the current national total is 1,472. There are no additional deaths to report. New Zealand’s total number of confirmed cases is 1,124.  This is the number we report daily to the World Health Organization (WHO) and in many instances this is the number reported publicly by other countries.

“There were 2,146 tests completed yesterday, with a combined total to date of 126,066. Again, this lower number of tests reflects regular weekend and public holiday patterns. Of our cases, 1,214 are reported as recovered – an increase of 34 on yesterday. 82% of all confirmed and probable cases have now recovered.”

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