New Zealand loosens restrictions after new cases fall to 53 but 1.6 million people in its biggest city are still trapped in the world’s strictest lockdown
However, 1.65 million Kiwis in Auckland will remain under level four lockdown for another two weeks after 53 new cases were recorded on Monday.
The rest of New Zealand south of Auckland will move to level three lockdown restrictions from 11.59pm Tuesday and will remain in place for a week for at least a week.
Northland will remains in level four but will move to level three later this week if wastewater tests come back Covid-free.
Auckland will remain in lockdown for another two weeks after 53 new cases on Monday (pictured a drive-through vaccination clinic)
For the rest of New Zealand, cafes, restaurants and takeaways can reopen but only for contactless pick-up, delivery or drive through.
Other popular non-essential retailers such as Mitre 10 and Bunnings will remain closed but many can offer contactless click and collect or deliver.
The wearing of masks remain mandatory on public transport, in taxis and other ride share vehicles, supermarkets, pharmacies and takeaway stores and when visiting healthcare facilities.
Kiwis are urged to stay within their household bubble which can be extended to close family and those in isolation who need support.
Weddings and funerals will be permitted to go ahead with up to 10 attendees.
The rest of New Zealand south of Auckland will move to level three restrictions from 11.59pm Tuesday. Pictured are Kiwi supermarket workers
Some recreational activities will be now permitted again, including swimming, surfing, hiking, mountain biking and horse riding.
Parents are urged to continue home-schooling but schools are open for parents who are essential workers.
All 53 of Monday’s cases were recorded in Auckland after 85 cases were announced 24 hours earlier.
‘To move Auckland down a level we need to be confident we don’t have Delta in the community, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said.
She produced modelling that revealed that the country would have recorded at least 550 cases on Monday had level four restrictions not been implemented.
She added more hard work had to be done.
Level three restrictions will see the return of some permitted recreational activities (pictured a cyclist in Christchurch)
‘What we can say is level four is making a difference, we’re seeing a decrease in cases outside households and decreasing locations of interest,’ Ms Ardern addressed the nation on Monday night.
‘We are making progress, and sacrifice being made is incredibly important.
‘All of that helps but the job is not yet done and we do need to keep going.’
‘I’m not making any judgment from today’s numbers, I’ll look at tomorrow’s and the next day’s and we’ll see what trend emerges.’
She had this message for Kiwis moving to eased restrictions.
‘Level three does not mean freedom, it means caution,’ Ms Ardern warned.
‘It means staying in your bubble, distance and contactless transactions.’
More than 1.65 million Auckland residents will remain under level four lockdown restrictions (pictured residents in Auckland on Monday)
‘While you’re preparing to move into level three, Auckland is doing a huge service for all of us, not just now but throughout the pandemic.’
New Zealand had been largely virus-free for months, barring a small number of cases in February, until an outbreak of the Delta variant imported from Australia prompted Ardern to order a snap nationwide lockdown on August 17.
There are now 562 cases linked to the Delta outbreak, 13 days after New Zealand recorded its first Covid-19 case in over six months.
Jacinda Ardern (pictured on Monday) says New Zealand would have recorded 550 cases on Monday had the country not reverted to level four lockdown restrictions on August 17