Coronavirus outbreak: New Zealand prepares to ease lockdown rules

New Zealand has won the “battle” against community transmission of COVID-19, as the country prepares to ease social and economic restrictions

Coronavirus outbreak: New Zealand prepares to ease lockdown rules
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern speaks to the media - Photo: David Lintott/AFP
English 27/04/2020 13:37 EFE Sydney Actualizada 13:45
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New Zealand has won the “battle” against community transmission of COVID-19, its prime minister said Monday as the country prepared to ease social and economic restrictions.

“There is no widespread undetected community transmission in New Zealand—we have won that battle. But we must remain vigilant if we are to keep it that way,” Jacinda Ardern said at a press conference.

After nearly five weeks of alert level 4 lockdown, at midnight the country will move to alert level 3.

“That includes safety returning more New Zealanders to work, enabling more businesses to reopen, and allowing some of the recreational activities we have missed in the last four weeks,” Ardern added.

Around 1 million residents are expected to return to work, early childhood centers and schools are to reopen with restrictions, and food delivery services are to begin.

To succeed in the fight against the virus, the last few cases needed to be hunted down, which “is like looking for a needle in a haystack,” Ardern said.

Recommended: Coronavirus COVID-19 Global Cases Mapped

The prime minister urged citizens to continue to keep their physical distancing measures and remain in their “bubbles” as the country slowly opens back up.

“It is not and cannot be a return to pre-COVID-19 life. That day will come but it is not here yet,” she warned.

Alert level 3 will remain for two weeks until May 11 when Cabinet will review whether to continue on or change levels.

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