New Zealand discharges its last coronavirus patient from hospital

Andy Wells
Freelance Writer
New Zealand prime minister Jacinda Ardern during an interview on the coronavirus crisis. (AP)

As the world continues to battle against coronavirus, New Zealand has reached a milestone after the last COVID-19 patient in hospital was discharged.

New Zealand has recorded just one single new case of the disease in the past week, with 21 people in the country having died of the condition since the pandemic began.

A hospitalised patient was discharged from Middlemore Hospital on Wednesday, marking the first time in two months that all hospitals were empty of people needing treatment for coronavirus.

Customers enter a hardware store in Christchurch, New Zealand, after some of the country's lockdown restrictions were lifted. (AP)

New Zealand’s director-general of health, Dr Ashley Bloomfield, said the milestone was “another good position” for the country to be in.

There have been 1,504 cases of coronavirus in New Zealand’s 5 million population, with the first confirmed case recorded at the end of February.

The peak of hospitalisations came in April, when 20 people were in hospital receiving treatment, according to the country’s Ministry of Health.

Intensive care numbers peaked at five during April, while not a single person has been admitted in May.

Out of the 21 people who died after contracting coronavirus in New Zealand, eight had an underlying health condition, while all but one was aged over 65.

Neighbouring Australia recorded nine new coronavirus cases on Tuesday, with 102 deaths in the country, according to Johns Hopkins.

Despite the success in keeping deaths low in New Zealand, prime minister Jacinda Ardern has so far refused to drastically loosen lockdown rules.

Customers enter their details before entering a cafe in Christchurch, New Zealand. (AP)

Ardern said on Monday that the country would remain in level two lockdown rules until 22 June at the earliest, after the shutdown was imposed in late March.

However, deputy leader of New Zealand’s government Winston Peters said the country had been in lockdown “for far too long”.

He added: “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.”

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