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New Zealand Reportedly Ease Coronavirus Restrictions

On Monday New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern moved most of New Zealand to the lowest virus alert setting, saying the country was edging towards eliminating Covid-19.

Ardern announced New Zealand would from late Monday move down to virus level one in its four-tier alert system, except for Auckland, where the country’s most recent outbreak emerged.

She said: “Our actions collectively have managed to get the virus under control.”

The decision means that mass gatherings, such as the first Bledisloe Cup rugby Test between the All Blacks and Australia in Wellington on October 11, can proceed without restrictions.

New Zealand has recorded just 25 deaths in a population of five million, with no new cases reported on Monday.

The virus was believed to have been eradicated at one point, with the country enjoying 102 days without community transmission after a strict national lockdown that ran from late March to late May.

She said: “Analysis completed for the ministry of health suggests that by the end of this month, there is still a 50-50 chance of having eliminated Covid once again.”

But Auckland needs more time to eliminate a stubborn cluster of infections that was detected last month in the city of 1.5 million she said.

She said: “This was the centre of the outbreak and that’s why caution is required here.”

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