Schools and businesses were allowed to reopen in Auckland on Monday after the lockdown measure imposed on the country’s largest city was lifted, but face masks have been made mandatory on public transport in all the country.
The country, currently being home to over 5 million people, appeared to have completely stopped its community transmission of COVID-19, yet a resurgence of the virus in Auckland throughout August prompted the government to place the whole city into lockdown.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern reduced the restrictions in Auckland on Sunday, yet she also made masks compulsory when public transport is used.
On Monday, Ardern claimed that she was confident that the new measure will be adhered to throughout all of New Zealand, adding that “a bit of smiling with the eyes behind the mask” and kindness to Aucklanders in particular, will help the whole country to fight through the latest outbreak of the virus.
Whilst wearing a mask herself, she told reports in Auckland that “We have a plan that we know will work. We just need everyone’s compliance and help. If everyone sticks to those guidelines and rules, coupled together with all the public health measures that we have, we can make this work”.
After several weeks of disruptions, students were allowed to return to school in Auckland.
One parent in particular said that “it’s so good for them to back to school. Online work, online school is alright but it’s still not good enough for them. So it’s good to get out of the house”.
However, the country is still on alert level 2, meaning that social distancing has to be followed, along with Auckland still having a limit on public gatherings.
New Zealand reported nine new cases of COVID-19 on Monday, with 15 recoveries, thus bringing their total of active cases down to 131, with 11 cases being in hospital.
The country was praised throughout the pandemic for controlling the spread of the virus, going more than three months with the daily new cases being in single-digits, even reporting zero active cases during the period between June 10 and June 15.