Auckland to return to normality after N. Zealand COVID-19 outbreak

Sydney, Australia, Oct 5 (efe-epa).- New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced Monday the return to normality of Auckland, the most populous city in the country which was confined in August following a new outbreak of COVID-19.

The president, however, said the return to the lowest level of the alert (level 1) does not mean the virus has been completely eliminated.

“I do not want anyone to believe that being at level 1 supposes the absence of COVID-19 in New Zealand,” Ardern said at a press conference in the city of Christchurch and at the end of a virtual meeting with her Cabinet.

As of Wednesday at 11.59 pm local time, the 1.7 million inhabitants of Auckland will be able to meet and circulate freely without the need to exercise physical distance or wear masks, although they must follow hygiene rules and be tested for COVID-19 if they have symptoms.

Ardern said no local infections have been reported in the last 10 days associated with the outbreak of COVID-19 detected in mid-August in Auckland, to which 179 infections have been linked since.

New Zealand experts believe there’s a 95 percent chance that the source in Auckland has been removed.

On Aug. 11 and when the country reached 102 days without detecting local infections, the local authorities reported the positive of four members of the same family and a day later declared the confinement of Auckland.

New Zealand, whose government has been praised for its effective and rapid management against COVID-19, has accumulated a total of 1,499 infections, including 25 deaths and 40 active cases, since the start of the pandemic.

The country, which declared the first lockdown on Mar. 25 when it had only 50 confirmed cases and returned to the “new normal” on Jun. 8, entered a technical recession last month, falling 12.2 percent in the second quarter of 2020 in the wake of the tough restrictions imposed.

The nation holds general elections on the 17th of this month, in which Ardern is the favorite to revalidate her position for a three-year term. EFE-EPA


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