New Zealand on Monday next week is to lift COVID-19 restrictions across the country, except in its biggest city, Auckland, which is the epicenter of a second wave of infections, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said yesterday.
Auckland’s restrictions would be reviewed on Monday next week, Ardern said.
The government is also to immediately ease all physical distancing requirements on planes, a boost for Air New Zealand, which has for months had to limit passengers on its aircraft, she said.
“I know this change will make a real difference to Air New Zealand and those parts of the country seeking increased numbers of visitors,” Ardern told a news conference in the South Island city of Dunedin, where she is on an election campaign trip.
Masks would still be mandatory on all public transportation, she said.
New Zealand, a nation of 5 million, had appeared to have succeeded in halting community transmission of COVID-19, but a fresh outbreak in Auckland in August prompted the government to place the city back in lockdown.
Ardern, who is facing a general election on Oct. 17, scaled back the restrictions this month, but the city is still under alert level 2.5, meaning social gatherings of more than 10 people are not allowed.
Ardern’s Cabinet is to review the rules for Auckland at its meeting on Monday next week, with a view to increase gathering limits if the situation stays stable.
That change, if it comes, would take effect on Wednesday next week, she said.
New Zealand reported one new case of COVID-19 in the community, taking the total number of cases to 1,447 and 24 deaths.
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