Jacinda Ardern. File
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern moved most of New Zealand to the lowest virus alert setting Monday, saying the country was edging towards eliminating Covid-19.
Ardern announced New Zealand would from late Monday move down to virus level one in its four-tier alert system, except for Auckland, where the country's most recent outbreak emerged.
"Our actions collectively have managed to get the virus under control," said Ardern, whose government has been widely praised internationally for its coronavirus response.
The decision means that mass gatherings, such as the first Bledisloe Cup rugby Test between the All Blacks and Australia in Wellington on October 11, can proceed without restrictions.
New Zealand has recorded just 25 deaths in a population of five million, with no new cases reported on Monday.
The virus was believed to have been eradicated at one point, with the country enjoying 102 days without community transmission after a strict national lockdown that ran from late March to late May.
Ardern said elimination was still New Zealand's target.
"Analysis completed for the ministry of health suggests that by the end of this month, there is still a 50-50 chance of having eliminated Covid once again," she said.
But she said Auckland "needs more time" to eliminate a stubborn cluster of infections that was detected last month in the city of 1.5 million.
"This was the centre of the outbreak and that's why caution is required here," she said.
The origin of the Auckland cluster remains unknown, but health authorities say it is not the same strain of the virus experienced earlier this year.
Despite the mystery, Ardern said extensive testing and effective contract tracing were keeping it contained.
Auckland's alert will move down slightly from 2.5 to two on Wednesday, meaning the maximum number at social gatherings increases from 10 to 100.
The city's virus setting will be reviewed in two weeks, with the possibility it could join the rest of the country at level one on October 7.
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said the extreme measures were needed to prevent the rapid spread of the virus. The country has just six confirmed cases and has had no deaths, but Ardern said that number inevitably would rise.
The massive budget stimulus, which includes billions on infrastructure, healthcare, housing and wage subsidy schemes, sets the stage for Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern's re-election campaign, as her centre-left government seeks to consolidate support ahead of the September poll.
With both nations seeing significant drops in new infections, Ardern accepted Australian counterpart Scott Morrison's invitation to join a virtual meeting of the National Cabinet, which brings together Australia's regional and federal leaders.
The government will drop social distancing restrictions form midnight on Monday as it moves to a level 1 national alert from Level 2, Ardern told a news conference. Public and private events, the retail and hospitality industries and all public transport could resume without social distancing norms still in place across much of the world.
Some Indian passengers were stopped at the airport based on the COVID-19 test results.
The details of the case are due to the fact that the woman filed a lawsuit against a man accusing him of insulting her through the "WhatsApp" with the Court of Misdemeanors, which ruled that he be fined Dhs250,000.
Female passengers flying from Qatar were subjected to invasive searches after a premature baby was found abandoned in an airport bathroom, in procedures the Australian government on Monday described as "grossly disturbing" and "offensive."