New Zealand to lift Auckland lockdown at midnight Sunday

Sydney, Australia, Aug 30 (efe-epa).- New Zealand on Sunday night will lift the lockdown imposed in Auckland, the country’s most populated with 1.7 million inhabitants, after only two new COVID-19 infections were detected on Sunday, the country’s prime minister announced.

“So for Auckland, I want to say thank you for all of your efforts today but also, keep going,” Jacinda Ardern said Sunday.

“Our system is good, it is designed to keep us on track with our elimination strategy at Level 2 in the scenario we now have but it will only work if people follow the guidance,” added the New Zealand leader, who explained that no part of Auckland had been untouched by the COVID-19 cluster.

“There is no corner that has been untouched by this cluster, that’s why the rules are for everyone and we need everyone in Auckland to stick to them, no matter where you are.”

Ardern pointed out that after the end of the lockdown at midnight on Sunday, certain measures will be imposed including social gatherings being limited to a maximum of ten people and the mandatory use of masks on public transport.

However, despite masks not being mandatory outside of public transport, Ardern urged people to wear them everywhere.

“Basically when you step out of your home, we’re asking you to please wear a mask,” she said.

The New Zealand government imposed a lockdown in Auckland on Aug. 12, two days after a spike in cases of the novel coronavirus after 102 days without any local infection being reported in the country.

The government of New Zealand, which has just under 4.9 million inhabitants, drew praise from around the world for imposing a lockdown in the country in March when it had just around 50 COVID-19 cases.

The country returned to normal in early June and has recorded a total of 1,729 infections since the onset of the pandemic, including 22 deaths and 136 active cases, ten of them hospitalized.

However, Auckland became the epicenter of a coronavirus outbreak when four new cases were detected three weeks ago in members of the same family.

Although the origin of the outbreak is still unknown, the authorities suspect that the virus is coming from abroad so it has stepped up tests to detect COVID-19 among its workers at the borders, which began being implemented at the end of June. EFE-EPA


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