Wellington: New Zealand health officials have poured cold water on the prospect of Auckland residents leaving the third stage early and keeping the seven-day action announced through at least Sunday morning last week

The city of 2 million people will then be subject to level two restrictions, while the rest of the country will reach level one

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said no new cases had been reported for five consecutive days and that was “good news,” but the lockdown was still necessary due to the severity of the UK variant

“Level three gave us an extra layer of security while we dealt with the unknowns,” she said

She turned down proposals to end the lockdown at midnight on Friday, saying the remainder of a transmission cycle needs to be looked through

She said health officials still wanted restrictions in case they find new cases. “Keeping the full seven days was the smart approach,” she said

New Zealand’s Director General of Health Ashley Bloomfield said it was comforting that there had been no more cases

“This also reflects the work done by the contact tracers over the past week, who have been widespread the web to reach thousands of contacts that certainly helped us bypass the outbreak,” he said

Since the 14th February identified around 6,000 contacts associated with the February cluster Wastewater tests at key locations were negative The use of the NZ Covid Tracer app increased by 58 percent

Under level three, people must stay at home in their bladder except for work, school if they have to, or on-site recreation. Businesses cannot provide services that involve close personal contact unless they do are essential services

Companies can be opened under level two and people can gather in groups of up to 100 people

Level 1 restrictions only apply to strict border security measures that limit the number of people entering the country and make traveling overseas unattractive for most

In the coming weeks, Ardern will draw up a “roadmap” for the year in which the government continues to respond to the pandemic

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World News – AU – Auckland Snap Lockdown remains until Sunday

Source: https://www.smh.com.au/world/oceania/auckland-snap-lockdown-remains-until-sunday-20210305-p57883.html