Jacinda Ardern says New Zealand will ease COVID-19 restrictions again

Most of New Zealand will have coronavirus restrictions lifted from midnight, while Auckland will also have some measures eased later in the week.

Auckland, which saw an outbreak when the country reopened after its strict lockdown, will move to alert level 2 on Thursday, allowing gatherings of up to 100 people, an increase of 10 from current measures.

The rest of the country will have all of its restrictions lifted from midnight tonight, but Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern urged caution as the country continues to reopen.

There are only 62 active cases in the country, according to the Ministry of Health.

“Please continue to use the COVID app, maintain good hygiene practices, stay home and get tested if sick,” Ms Ardern said.

“And if you are travelling on a plane that isn’t travelling in or out of Auckland, you are not required to wear a mask, but we do still encourage it.”

Every other New Zealand city is moving to alert level 1, under which most services operate as normal with enhanced hygiene measures.

The level 2 restrictions will be in place in Auckland for 14 days, meaning New Zealand’s Cabinet will meet again on October 5 to review the situation with an eye towards further easing two days later.

“This is all conditional on us continuing as we are now,” Ms Ardern said.

After more than 100 days with no community transmission, New Zealand’s biggest city was plunged back into lockdown last month.

Starting from one family in south Auckland, the outbreak quickly climbed to triple figures.

With the New Zealand Government pursuing an elimination strategy, more harsh lockdowns were imposed, but they began to ease at the start of this month.