New Zealand extends COVID-19 restrictions by a week

Sydney, Australia, Sep 14 (efe-epa).- The government of New Zealand on Monday announced an extension of COVID-19 restrictions until Sep. 21 in the entire country with the exception of the city of Auckland, the epicenter of a recent coronavirus outbreak.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said in a statement that the Cabinet will review the situation in Auckland at its next meeting on Sep. 21 “with a view to increase gathering limits for Auckland if we are in a similar position with containing the cluster.”

“If that change was agreed, this would come into effect on Wednesday 23rd of September,” Ardern added.

Only one local infection was reported in the country on Monday.

“And for the rest of the country, while we will retain the status quo for now, Cabinet has agreed in principle that at 11.59 pm on Monday the 21st September, the rest of New Zealand will move to Alert Level 1,” the New Zealand prime minister said. “This is contingent on cases tracking as they are, and maintaining the containment we have seen. The move will be confirmed on Monday when Cabinet meets again.”

In mid-August, the New Zealand government imposed a second lockdown on Auckland’s nearly 1.7 million inhabitants – the country’s most populous city – after four cases of COVID-19 were detected after more than 100 days without a local infection being recorded.

Two weeks ago, the government lowered restrictions in the city to what it calls “Level 2.5.”

This alert level limits the number of people allowed at gatherings to no more than 10 and mandates the use of masks on public transport, unlike in the rest of New Zealand, where Alert Level 2 is in place.

New Zealand, whose government drew worldwide praise for its quick response to the coronavirus epidemic with a strict lockdown and the closure of its borders when it had just 50 cases, currently has 1,447 COVID-19 infections, including 24 deaths and 96 active cases. EFE-EPA


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