Coronavirus: New Zealand has one confirmed case in entire population of five million people

New Zealand's Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern address a press conference at the post-cabinet media conference at Parliament, in Wellington, New Zealand, Monday, April 20, 2020. Ardern on Monday announced the country will remain in a strict lockdown for another week before easing the rules to allow some parts of the economy to reopen. (Mark Mitchell/Pool photo via AP)
New Zealand prime minister Jacinda Ardern has been praised for her response to the coronavirus pandemic. (AP)

While the UK continues to deal with a widespread coronavirus pandemic, New Zealand is on the verge of entirely eradicating the disease.

The country has notched up its 13th straight day of no reported new infections, while just one person in the nation of five million people is known to still have the virus.

The person in question is also not in hospital for treatment.

A man enjoys coffee in a cafe in Christchurch, New Zealand, Thursday, May 14, 2020. New Zealand lifted most of its remaining lockdown restrictions from midnight Wednesday as the country prepares for a new normal. Malls, retail stores and restaurants are all reopening Thursday in the South Pacific nation of 5 million, and many people are returning to their workplaces. (AP Photo/Mark Baker)
A man enjoys coffee in a cafe in Christchurch, New Zealand. (AP)

However, it remains likely that the country will import new cases once it reopens its borders, and officials say their aim remains to stamp out and contain new infections as they arise.

New Zealand has already lifted many of its virus restrictions and could remove most of those that remain, including limiting crowd sizes, next week.

Just over 1,500 people have contracted the virus during the outbreak, including 22 who died.

Last week, the last COVID-19 patient in hospital in New Zealand was discharged, marking the first time in two months that all hospitals were empty of people needing treatment for coronavirus.

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

The peak of hospital admissions 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, and not a single person was admitted in May.

The death toll linked to COVID-19 topped 50,000 in the UK on Wednesday, according to news agency PA.

However, the official number of deaths in the UK stands at 39,811 out of 281,270 cases, according to Johns Hopkins University.

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