New Zealand to keep Auckland boundary even if Covid-19 lockdown is lifted

WELLINGTON (BLOOMBERG) – New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said the border preventing travel to and from Auckland will remain in place even if the government allows the country’s largest city to come out of lockdown next week.

“What I would like to signal now is the high likelihood of that boundary remaining,” Ardern told a press conference on Thursday (Sept 30) in Wellington.

“Yes, we are giving full consideration to easing, but there are a number of ways that we can consider that. What is not in consideration presently is the idea of removing that regional boundary at this time.”

Auckland is currently in its seventh week of lockdown as it battles an outbreak of the infectious Delta strain of Covid-19.

Ardern’s cabinet is due to decide on Monday whether the city can exit lockdown and join the rest of the country at a lower level of restrictions, but the downward trend in daily case numbers was interrupted yesterday when 45 new infections were reported. A further 19 new cases were announced today.

“There has been some volatility in cases in recent days,” Ardern said. “At this stage, though, we continue to have control of the Covid outbreak in Auckland, and control is key. We simply do not have enough people vaccinated in Auckland or in New Zealand to tolerate a widespread outbreak.”

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