Wellington: New Zealand Prime Minister Yasin Arden announced on Monday that New Zealand will gradually lift its blockade within ten days after successfully containing the coronavirus.
Arden said that from Thursday, shopping centers, restaurants, movie theaters and playgrounds will be reopened-the country will move to the second level on its four-level system.
The 39-year-old leader warned “none of us can assume COVID is not with us” but said New Zealand currently had only 90 active cases after a seven-week lockdown.
“Your efforts New Zealand have got us to this place ahead of most of the world and without the carnage that COVID has inflicted in many other places,” she said in a televised address.
“But there are risks ahead, so please be vigilant.”
New Zealand, with a population of five million has recorded 1,147 coronavirus cases, including 21 deaths.
Since mid-April, the number of new cases has been single digits, with 3 new infections on Monday.
Under the second level of restrictions, international borders will remain closed, but domestic life will return to near normal levels.
Although the social isolation policy must still be adhered to, the advice that people isolate themselves at home and “stick to their own bubbles” will no longer apply.
“This is a transition out of our bubbles, you can see people you haven’t seen in a while, you just can’t do it all at once,” Ardern said.
“At Level Two we are out and about again, just about all parts of the economy are opening up again.”
The blockade was first relaxed two weeks ago, allowing food to be taken out and some recreational activities to resume, but the freedom granted by the latest relaxation will be greater.
After more than 70 weeks of compulsory isolation, people over 70 years of age will be allowed to leave the country again.
Allow domestic travel, which will promote the troubled tourism industry, and the school will be completely reopened next Monday.
The bar will not resume business until May 21st, which gives them more time to ensure that they can keep customers properly separated.
Team sports will also return to the arena, and the domestic version of the Super Rugby game is already scheduled to begin on June 13th. Five New Zealand teams will participate in the game.
Ardern said that after two weeks, it will re-evaluate its migration to Level 2 and relax further based on developments.