COVID-19 restrictions extended again in Auckland

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern: Auckland curbs continue for COVID-19

Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern on Monday announced that New Zealand’s largest city, Auckland would remain under COVID-19 restrictions for at least another two weeks.

The city which has a population of about 1.7 million, has been under strict restrictions after a single case was detected on Aug. 18.

While the number of cases in the outbreak has now reached 2,005.

Ardern said Auckland’s restrictions were the strictest in the OECD, with businesses only able to operate contactless and schools closed.

Residents were allowed to visit friends and family outside, as long as they remained socially distanced, limited their gatherings to two household bubbles and kept to groups of 10 people or fewer, she added.

Meanwhile, there had been a number of breaches reported to authorities but Ardern urged people to stick to the rules.

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“We don’t just make them [the rules] up, they are based on advice from public health.’’

Restrictions would be eased in the neighbouring region of Northland, allowing children to return to classrooms and businesses to reopen to customers.

However, wastewater testing positive for Coronavirus in the Waikato region meant that residents there would remain under Auckland’s restrictions until at least Friday, the prime minister added.

On Friday, Ardern would set out the new system for dealing with COVID-19, including a “very high’’ vaccination target.

About 85 per cent of the country’s eligible population had received a first vaccine dose, while 66 per cent of New Zealand residents were fully vaccinated.

With a population of 5 million, New Zealand had reported about 4,600 cases of COVID-19 and 28 deaths since the onset of the pandemic.