New Zealand is easing coronavirus restrictions in Auckland, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said on Monday, ending nearly five weeks of the tightest shutdown in the country’s most populous city.
Some businesses, including restaurants and cafes, will be allowed to reopen for take-out and delivery from Tuesday evening, and up to 10 people will be allowed to assemble in town for ceremonies, including funerals and weddings, Ms Ardern told reporters. In New Zealand’s four-tier Covid rules system, Auckland will now be at level 3, the second most restrictive. The rest of the country has been below level 2 for two weeks.
The measures frustrated residents and shut down businesses, as the country remained one of the few to commit to completely wiping out the Delta variant of the coronavirus. There were 22 new cases reported on Monday, up from a peak of 83 during that outbreak. New Zealand began slowly easing some of the world’s toughest antivirus measures earlier this month, with a goal of reopening borders to foreigners next year.
“We continue to do the work of eradicating Covid,” Ms. Ardern said. “We are not going out of level 4 because the job is done. We are also not moving because we do not believe we can achieve the goal of eradicating Covid-19. “