Auckland returns to normal after beating 2nd COVID-19 outbreak

Sydney, Australia, Oct 8 (efe-epa).- The city of Auckland returned to normal on Thursday after its second confinement and having overcome New Zealand’s second outbreak of COVID-19.

The 1.7 million residents of New Zealand’s most populous city entered the lowest alert level (1 on a scale of 4) Wednesday at midnight, the same as in place in the rest of the country, and on Thursday regained complete freedom of movement.

Authorities reported on Monday that the Auckland outbreak was under control after zero local infections linked to the outbreak were recorded for more than a week, and announced the end of the restrictions starting Thursday.

Residents are no longer required to maintain physical distancing rules and meetings are able to be held again without capacity limits, among other measures.

“There are a lot of people around today – students on campus, students in the library, people in Albert Park,” Rosanne, an Auckland librarian, said on Twitter, while university professor Kathryn Jones wondered “how many will attend lectures!?”

“We’ve woken up to level 1! Many of our talented artists have their previews tomorrow night, so you haven’t already, today’s the day to start plotting your path across, Auckland, around precincts, and into galleries. The only question is, where to start,” tweeted Art Week Auckland, an annual festival of visual arts that will be held between Oct. 10-18 in the city.

Despite the return to normalcy, the country’s Director-General of Health Ashley Bloomfield urged people to continue to exercise caution.

“There is still an ongoing risk further cases will emerge in the community and our key point here is alert level 1 is not alert level none,” Bloomfield said.

The second outbreak, detected in August, ended the country’s 102-day streak of no local transmission when four cases in one family emerged. The origin of the cluster, which was New Zealand’s largest at 172 cases, is still unknown.

New Zealand, which since Wednesday no longer had patients of local infections, has 39 active cases – 3 of them announced Thursday – classified as imported infections among people who have returned from abroad.

The country’s government has been praised for its management of COVID-19, and has accumulated 1,508 infections since the start of the pandemic, including 25 deaths. EFE-EPA


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