New Zealand discharges last coronavirus patient from hospital

New Zealand no longer has any coronavirus patients being treated in hospitals, the latest positive milestone in its battle against the infectious disease.

The final hospitalized COVID-19 patient receiving treatment was discharged from Middlemore Hospital, Dr. Ashley Bloomfield, director-general of health, told reporters Wednesday at a briefing.

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It also marked the fifth consecutive day with no new coronavirus cases reported in the country. The number of active cases remained at just 21, and there were no additional deaths, Bloomfield said.

The total number of confirmed positive cases stood at 1,154, with 21 deaths.

The news comes one month after Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern claimed the nation had “won” the battle against the coronavirus with the number of new cases falling into the single digits over consecutive days.

Earlier this week, Ardern attributed that success to a strict early lockdown and people’s ongoing vigilance.

“We are still in a global pandemic,” Ardern 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.”

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She said New Zealand will continue to observe its current Level 2 lockdown rules until at least June 22.

While Ardern has refused to drastically lift lockdown rules, New Zealand is planning to loosen restrictions by increasing the maximum size of gatherings from 10 people to 100 beginning Friday.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.