Officials in New Zealand announced no new cases of COVID-19 were detected for the second straight day Wednesday as most businesses in the country begin reopening.
Speaking to reporters Wednesday in Wellington, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Ministry of Health Director-General Ashley Bloomfield announced the total number of confirmed and probable cases of coronavirus stands at 1,497.
Bloomfield said that was encouraging news as most businesses, including malls, retail stores and sit-down restaurants, will be able to reopen as of midnight Wednesday, though social distancing rules will remain in place and gatherings will be limited to 10 people.
He said it is vital New Zealander’s “continue to model the personal behaviors that are going to keep COVID-19 out of New Zealand."
Prime Minister Ardern said the country faced the most challenging economic conditions since the Great Depression because of the virus.
She noted New Zealand is about to enter a “very tough winter but every winter eventually is followed by spring, and if we make the right choices, we can get New Zealanders back to work and our economy moving quickly again."