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Saturday, August 20 2022
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New Zealand to further ease Covid curbs

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Wellington: New Zealand’s largest city of Auckland and other areas, which have been seriously affected by the latest community outbreak of the Covid-19 Delta variant, will further relax restrictions at the end of the year, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced on Monday.

All regions under “red” in the “traffic light” Covid-19 protection framework, excluding Northland, will move into “orange” from 11.59 p.m. local time on December 30, which means unrestricted life for the vaccinated people, as venues that use vaccine passes face no limits in the scale of gatherings, reports Xinhua news agency.

Addressing a press conference, she said the areas to move from “red” to “orange” include Auckland, Taupo, Rotorua lakes districts, and Gisborne among other areas in the North Island.

The rate of Covid-19 vaccination in Northland is lagging behind the rest of the country so it will stay under “red” for a longer period, Ardern said.

The South Island is currently under “orange” and it is not a time for a “green”, as New Zealand is still transitioning to the “traffic light” Covid-19 protection system, the Prime Minister said.

The government will review the pandemic situation on January 17 when many regions in the country are expected to move to “green”, said Ardern.

New Zealand reported 101 new Delta variant cases on Monday, bringing the total number of confirmed cases in the country to 12,986.

Among the new infections, 97 were recorded in the largest city of Auckland, and one each in Bay of Plenty, Taranaki, Nelson and Canterbury, according to the Ministry of Health.

A total of 61 patients are being treated in hospitals, including four in intensive care units or high dependency units, the Ministry added.

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