New Zealand to lift all social distancing measures

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New Zealand Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern

New Zealand on Wednesday saw its 12th consecutive day with no new cases:

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said on Wednesday she could lift all social distancing measures to return the country to normal life, bar the international border closure, as early as next week.

Ardern will decide on Monday whether the country is ready to shift to alert level 1, more than two months after she imposed a strict level 4 lockdown, shutting most businesses and forcing people to stay home, in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Arden said waiting until Monday would allow her to see if recent changes, like the removal of restrictions on the number of people in bars and at social gatherings, had led to a rise in cases.

“If it hasn’t, then we will be in a good position to move,” she said during a televised news conference.

Under level 1 there is no requirement for physical distancing or limits on the number of people allowed in places like bars, clubs, churches, and sports venues, she said.

However, there would be one major change from pre-pandemic normality, with no immediate plans to reopen New Zealand’s border.