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New Zealand's Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has announced the easing of coronavirus restrictions in all areas outside of Auckland.
Residents were able to meet and move freely with group gatherings originally increasing from 10 people to 100 but the new announcement means there is no longer a limit.
Restrictions were eased some time ago after the country went longer than three months without a single Covid-19 case, but the brakes were put back on when a fresh outbreak occurred in the main city of Auckland.
Speaking today (21 September), the PM explained that some restrictions would also be eased in Auckland but added that the city needs more time before all are lifted.
Speaking to reporters, Ardern said: "Our actions collectively have managed to get the virus under control. This was the centre of the outbreak and that's why that caution is needed here."
As well as having limitless gatherings, residents outside Auckland will also be able to use public transport without having to wear a mask.
The changes will come into place as of 11.59pm this evening (21 September) as the country moves to 'Level 1', meaning a return to largely normal life.
It's fair to say that people online were pretty happy with the news.
One person wrote: "What does Level 1 mean again?
"I can go to the pub with all of my mates, I can go watch the rugby without restrictions, and I can again contemplate joining a gym to get fit but never actually go. Not because of germs but because of who I am as a person."
Level 1 tomorrow - so bloody proud of our New Zealand, Auckland you stepped up for us and we support you on your journey.
Let's not drop the ball this is for our family and loved ones. We have got this ! :flag_nz::pray:
- Lyall Bay (@lyallbaynz) September 21, 2020
Yes level 2 Auckland an social gatherings 100 well done hard work got us there. Level 1 for the rest of New Zealand brilliant. Let's keep this virus out :flag_nz:
- Mike (@Mike83398590) September 21, 2020
Level 1 #NewZealand
Putting the Mateus in the fridge baby
Calling a BBQ already pic.twitter.com/O4UnQabhoi
- Paul Le Comte (@five15design) September 21, 2020
Meanwhile, in England coronavirus infections are doubling every seven days, according to Chief Scientific Advisor Sir Patrick Vallance.
If that were to continue, by the middle of October there could be 50,000 cases per day, leading to more than 200 deaths per day by mid-November.
Vallance said that despite low levels of immunity in the population, the 'vast majority of people' are 'still susceptible to infection', and provided estimates that eight percent of people have been infected.
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