New Zealand discharges last COVID-19 patient

Sydney, Australia, May 27 (efe-epa).- New Zealand does not have a single person hospitalized with COVID-19 after the last patient was discharged, the government announced on Wednesday.

It also comes after five consecutive days in which no new case of the novel coronavirus was detected.

“I think this is the first time, at least probably in a couple of months, that we haven’t had somebody in hospital, so that’s another good position to be in,” Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield said during a daily press conference to update the country on the epidemic.

New Zealand has recorded 1,154 confirmed cases of coronavirus since the start of the epidemic, of which 21 still have the virus and 21 have died.

According to Bloomfield, laboratories have processed a total of 267,435 tests in the country of 5 million people.

The New Zealand government imposed strict lockdown measures at the end of March that were considered among the strictest in the world.

In the last two weeks it has reopened schools, bars and other establishments after Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern declared that the country had won the battle against community transmission of COVID-19, although strict social distancing and other measures continue under level 2 out of 4, the strictest.

Meanwhile, the country’s authorities announced Tuesday that it has allocated NZ$37 million ($22.9 million) from its budget to efforts to create, produce and distribute a vaccine against COVID-19, of which NZ$20 million will go towards international research and to assist organizations that will distribute the vaccine to developing countries, NZ$10 million to domestic research and NZ$5 million for future production.

“New Zealand has quality researchers and a high performing research, science and innovation sector with a long history of working with colleagues across the globe to tackle complex global problems,” Science and Innovation Minister Megan Woods said.

“It’s vital that we contribute to international research efforts as well as ramp up our own research and manufacturing capability,” she said. EFE-EPA


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