New Zealand down to just one COVID-19 case

Jacinda Ardern's government faces pressure to remove all societal and business restrictions.
Jacinda Ardern's government faces pressure to remove all societal and business restrictions.

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 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 June 8.

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, 1504 Kiwis have contracted the virus, with 22 deaths.

Australian Associated Press