New Zealand extends Auckland lockdown, eases some restrictions

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Wellington [New Zealand], October 4 (ANI/Sputnik): New Zealand's prime minister, Jacinda Ardern, said on Monday that the COVID-19 lockdown in Auckland, the country's largest city, will remain on the third out of four level of severity despite some of the restrictions being lifted.

"Auckland remains at level three but with several key changes," the prime minister said.

At level three, citizens are required to wear a face mask and maintain social distancing in some public spaces, such as public transport or supermarkets. Travel is restricted to a resident's local area, which means that people can go to work and school.

Starting Tuesday, Aucklanders will be allowed to meet with family and friends outdoors on the condition that the number of people does not exceed 10. More children will be able to return to early childhood education and people will be able to visit the beach, sail, hunt, visit outdoor yoga and crossfit classes, Ardern said.

The prime minister reminded everyone that while these changes are happening, people should still follow social distancing rules.

The ease in restrictions is the first part of Ardern's three-stage plan to ease Auckland's level three restrictions. The second stage of the plan will see retail shops opening up, along with libraries, museums, pools and zoos.

"The third phase of our plan then brings back those higher risk settings. Here, hospitality (such as bars, cafes and restaurants) will be able to open, but with the precaution of seated, and separated, with a limit of 50 people. Close contact businesses like hairdressers will also be able to reopen at this stage, with the usual mask use, and with physical distancing. Gatherings will also then extend to 50," the prime minister said.

Auckland has been in level three and level four restrictions since August 17, when one case of the Delta variant was detected in the area. Over 1,300 people have been infected with the virus since. (ANI/Sputnik)

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