As one of the initial success stories, the recently introduced short-term lockdown in Auckland to curb a second wave of coronavirus infections is over, heralding the end of 'phase two'.
New Zealand authorities ended lockdown in Auckland last weekend after the country reported just two new cases of the coronavirus in its latest daily figures. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced that curbs in the hotspot of New Zealand's outbreak would be eased from 11.59pm local time on Sunday, but said these could be tightened again if necessary.
Limits will stay on public gatherings and movement in Auckland, with face masks made mandatory nationwide from Monday.
Ms Ardern confirmed the easing of restrictions on the same day the government was forced to withdraw an incorrect public notice that caused a rush of people at testing centres. At 5pm on Saturday the government’s official United Against Covid-19 social media channels posted a notice advising people in West and South Auckland, home to some 700,000 people, to get tested regardless of whether they showed any symptoms.
Ms Ardern thanked Aucklanders following the easing of lockdown measures, but also urged them to “keep going” with their vigilance and caution. She warned that New Zealand will return to higher alert levels if necessary.