Auckland to remain locked down for at least another two weeks

New Zealand’s largest city to remain locked down for at least another two weeks as 20 new cases are reported daily

  • Auckland will see some easing of rules as it moves from level 4 to 3 on Tuesday 
  • The city has been in the strictest form of lockdown for just over a month
  • It has also been the centre of an outbreak of the Delta variant in New Zealand
  • Prime Minister Jacinda Arden said she is confident the lockdown is working 

New Zealand’s largest city will remain in lockdown for at least two more weeks, it was announced on Monday.

However, which has been in the strictest form of lockdown for just over a month, will see the easing of some restrictions from Tuesday. 

Starting tomorrow, the alert level in the city of about 1.7million will drop from 4 to 3, meaning Aucklanders will be able to buy takeaway restaurant food, and some workplaces can reopen. 

But most people will still be required to live and work from home and schools will remain closed. Businesses are limited to offering only contactless services.

New Zealand has taken an unusual zero-tolerance approach to the coronavirus and has been trying to completely eliminate an outbreak of the delta variant. 

But the outbreak has proved stubborn, with the city continuing to report about 20 new local cases each day. 

New Zealand’s largest city will remain in lockdown for at least two more weeks, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern (pictured) announced on Monday

The city, which has been in the strictest form of lockdown for just over a month, will see the easing of some restrictions from Tuesday. Pictured: A deserted street in Auckland

The outbreak spread beyond Auckland after an infected prisoner was bailed to his home in a small rural town. 

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said she is confident the lockdown is working and there isn’t widespread undetected transmission.

The easing of restrictions in Auckland does not affect social gatherings, with Ardern saying residents must still keep to their own ‘bubbles’, refrain from visiting friends or neighbours or letting children play together.  

‘Bubbles must remain small and exclusive,’ she told a news conference on Monday.

‘We are confident that there is no large-scale undetected transmission.

‘There is ongoing work to stamp it out, which is why we are still at level 3.’

The Auckland restrictions will ensure the Delta variant is stamped out as New Zealand sticks with its strategy of elimination of the virus, Ardern added.

The relaxation allows for up to 10 people to attend funerals and weddings, while businesses can offer contactless pick-up or delivery services, including takeaways.

Auckland will stay at level 3 for at least two weeks. For the rest of the country, the level will remain at 2, Ardern said.

New Zealand reported 22 new cases of COVID-19 on Monday, all in Auckland, which has been in a full level-4 lockdown since mid-August. 

Until then, the country had been largely virus-free. Its tally of infections is 3,725, with 27 deaths.

Ardern’s tough lockdowns and international border closure helped rein in COVID-19, but her government has been criticised for a slow rollout of vaccine that exposed much of the population to Delta.

New Zealand has since ramped up its vaccine drive, with purchases of additional vaccine doses from Spain and Denmark.

It still plans a phased re-opening of borders early next year, Ardern has said. 

Ardern’s tough lockdowns and international border closure helped rein in COVID-19, but her government has been criticised for a slow rollout of vaccine that exposed much of the population to Delta. New Zealand has since ramped up its vaccine drive. Pictured: Residents of the Western Park Village in Ranui wait for the Covid-19 vaccinations from a bus in Auckland on Thursday

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