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New Zealand eases Covid-19 lockdown as number of delta cases falls

Large parts of New Zealand will move out of lockdown as the number of Covid-19 cases in the country continues to fall, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced on Monday.

Large parts of New Zealand will move out of lockdown as the number of Covid-19 cases in the country continues to fall, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced on Monday.

New Zealand reported 20 new cases of community transmitted Covid-19 on Monday, taking a cluster discovered in Auckland to 821 in total.

The country was put in a hard lockdown within hours of a single case being detected on August 18, with all schools and non-essential businesses closed.

Ardern said most of the country would see restrictions eased from Wednesday. “This is testament to everybody’s hard work,” she said.

However, there are new rules the country must follow, including mandatory mask wearing indoors and limits on gatherings of 50 people indoors and up to 100 outdoors.

“Delta has changed the game so in order to beat it, we have to change our game plan too,” Ardern said referring to the infectuous Covid-19 variant.

“We’ve done so well to get this outbreak under control … we are in sight of elimination but we cannot drop the ball,” she said.

The Auckland region, the epicentre of the outbreak, will remain under strict lockdown, with the city’s restrictions due to be reviewed on September 13.

It is the first nationwide lockdown in New Zealand since March 2020, where the entire country was at the highest level of restrictions for six weeks.

The country, with a population of 5 million, has reported about 3,400 cases of Covid-19 since the onset of the pandemic with 27 deaths.

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