Sun, August 14, 2022


New Zealand partially eases Auckland lockdown amid outbreak

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern partially eased a lockdown in Auckland, but urged people in the nations largest city to stay at home and avoid social contact as the government struggles to stamp out a delta coronavirus outbreak.

Auckland will move to Alert Level 3 at midnight Tuesday, allowing some businesses to reopen, Ardern said Monday in Wellington. But it will remain at that level for at least two weeks and the rest of the country will stay at Level 2, requiring social distancing and mask wearing in indoor public spaces.

"We are not stepping out of Level 4 because the job is done, but nor are we moving because we don't think we can achieve the goal of stamping out Covid-19," Ardern said. "We are moving because Level 3 still provides a cautious approach where we continue to stamp out Covid-19."

Auckland has already been in lockdown for more than a month. While the restrictions have managed to contain the outbreak, new cases continue to be detected every day. Three new infections just outside the Auckland border -- one a child who attended school while infectious -- prompted the government to today impose a snap lockdown in that area for five days.

For Auckland, Level 3 doesn't mean lockdown is lifted. It allows businesses to resume contactless operations but people are still asked to stay at home and work remotely if possible. Schools, daycare centers, shops and public venues are largely closed, and gatherings are restricted.

In a boost for the hospitality sector, Ardern said the gathering limit for the rest of the country under Level 2 has been raised to 100 from 50.

Published : September 21, 2021