Tue, 04 Aug 2020

'I did a little dance' - PM Jacinda Ardern declares victory as New Zealand clears last Covid-19 case

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, who had earlier refused calls to sack Clark, citing his critical role in the country's response to the pandemic, said she agreed with his decision.

Recent opinion polls have Ardern's Labour Party far ahead of its main rival National Party, putting it on track to win the 19 September general election, but public confidence in her government has been undermined by a series of blunders.

Ardern had declared in early June that New Zealand had eliminated coronavirus, although she warned there would almost certainly be new cases, as she lifted social distancing restrictions.

Just days later it was revealed that two women who arrived from Britain who were allowed to leave quarantine early on compassionate grounds later tested positive for the virus.

The country still has no known cases of community transmission, but there are 22 active cases at the border through returning New Zealanders.

Ardern appointed Education Minister Chris Hipkins as interim health minister until the September election, after which she said she would consider a permanent replacement.

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