New Zealand to end Auckland lockdown

New Zealand to end Auckland lockdown

FILE PHOTO: FILE PHOTO: People jog past a social distancing sign in Auckland, New Zealand, August 3
FILE PHOTO: People jog past a social distancing sign on the first day of New Zealand's new coronavirus disease (COVID-19) safety measure that mandates wearing of a mask on public transport, in Auckland, New Zealand, August 31, 2020. REUTERS/Fiona Goodall//File Photo

WELLINGTON: A lockdown in the New Zealand city of Auckland will end at midnight, the government announced Wednesday (Feb 17) after concluding a coronavirus outbreak had been contained.

“This is good news,” Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said.

Restrictions across the rest of the country will also be eased.

Auckland’s nearly 2 million residents were plunged into a snap three-day lockdown on Monday, after a more contagious strain of COVID-19 that first emerged in Britain was detected in an Auckland family of three.  

Health authorities reported three new locally transmitted cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday, all of the from the same home as the child who tested positive on Sunday.

The Auckland lockdown was the first in the country in about six months, after a hard nationwide lockdown early in the pandemic appeared to have largely eliminated local transmission.

The fresh outbreak prompted neighbouring Australia to suspend an arrangement that allowed New Zealanders to enter the country without serving a 14-day hotel quarantine period.

New Zealand plans to start inoculating its 5 million residents against the coronavirus on Feb 20, having received its first shipment of Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines earlier this week.

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Source: Agencies/ac