New Zealand to lift lockdown outside of Auckland as officials eye COVID elimination again

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New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced Monday an end to the nationwide COVID-19 lockdown outside of Auckland, saying "we've done so well to get this outbreak under control."

What they're saying: "We are within sight of elimination, but we cannot drop the ball," Ardern said at a briefing confirming the rest of NZ will move to level 2 of the country's four-tier pandemic response measures at 11:59pm Tuesday.

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Background: New Zealand entered the highest lockdown level last month after detecting its first community case in nearly six months — marking the arrival of the Delta variant in the island nation.

  • Restrictions were later eased to level 3 outside of epicenter Auckland, NZ's most populous city.

Of note: Level 2 now includes extra precautions against Delta. These include mandatory mask-wearing at most indoor venues, which are capped at 50 customers.

  • Auckland will remain at level 4 until at least Tuesday, per Ardern.

By the numbers: NZ locked down on one positive coronavirus test result.

  • The outbreak has grown to 821 cases.

  • 704 cases are currently active, after Auckland reported 20 more infections Monday.

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