Ns News Online Desk: Face masks are no longer mandatory in most of New Zealand as Covid-19 cases continue to drop. From midnight on Wednesday, masks ceased to be compulsory in Auckland, the heart of a recent outbreak. except on public transport and planes.
The rest of New Zealand lifted all pandemic restrictions on Monday after recording no new cases for a week. Auckland still faces curbs but it has also eased rules to allow gatherings of up to 100 people.
New Zealand was widely praised for its swift response to Covid-19 and everyday life was largely back to normal after the nation briefly declared itself virus-free in June.
But a second-wave hit Auckland in August and the country’s biggest city went back into lock down, temporarily, as other curbs were re-imposed elsewhere.
New Zealand has now recorded 1,468 confirmed Covid-19 cases and 25 deaths.Everywhere except Auckland returned to level one – the lowest of a four-tier alert system – on Monday after seven days of no Covid-19 community cases.
This means life almost as normal – no more social distancing or caps on gatherings such as weddings or sporting events. Everyone can return to work without restriction and wearing a mask is no longer compulsory.