New Zealand discharges final coronavirus patient from hospitals

27 May 2020, 11:41

Jacinda Ardern is been largely praised for her handling of the coronavirus pandemic in New Zealand
Jacinda Ardern is been largely praised for her handling of the coronavirus pandemic in New Zealand. Picture: PA

By Kate Buck

The final patient being treated for coronavirus in a New Zealand hospital was discharged today.

The nation took aggressive and early action to stop transmissions, enforcing a lockdown and closing borders, and has reported only 21 deaths.

It has 21 active cases out of 1,504 confirmed and probable ones.

It also seems as though the spread of Covid-19 has been slowed down dramatically, with only one case confirmed in the past week.

New Zealand's Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has been widely praised for her dealing with the virus, but now faces calls from her own government to release citizens from the lockdown.

Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters - who is not from the same political party as Ms Ardern - called for borders to be opened up again in a trans-Tasman "travel bubble" with Australia.

Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters has called for lockdown to be lifted
Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters has called for lockdown to be lifted. Picture: PA

Australia has also seen success in dealing with the virus, confirming 7,144 cases of the disease and 103 fatalities.

Currently 30 people are in hospital with Covid-19, with only six in intensive care.

Speaking on a radio show, Mr Peters said: “We’ve been in compulsory lockdown for far too long.

"Everybody who has put their heart into the future, the country’s future, and their family’s future realise there is only one way out of this - to think smart and work harder."

Ms Ardern brought in a four-stage lockdown, with four being the strictest and one being the lowest. The country has spent the last two months at stages four and three, and will not move down to level two until 22 June at earliest.

But Mr Peters has called for the lockdown to instantly be moved to stage one, in a move potentially aimed at differentiating himself from Ms Ardern ahead of the upcoming September elections.

He added: "“You have to look at the percentages and say are we 98, 99% safe? If we are we’ve got to risk it and get going.

“The enemy we’ve got now is not Covid-19, it’s the inability to turn this economy around as fast as possible."

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