Wellington/Xinhua: New Zealand's largest city Auckland will ease restrictions on gatherings at midnight Wednesday, moving down from COVID-19 Alert Level 2.5 to 2, with the rest of the country moving down from Alert Level 2 to Level 1 from midnight Monday.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern made the announcement at a press conference on Monday while no new cases of COVID-19 were reported in the country on the day.
Auckland saw a second wave of COVID-19 community outbreak in August, with transmissions contained locally. Therefore, Auckland has maintained a higher alert level than the rest of New Zealand.
Auckland's level 2 means that gathering restrictions will increase from 10 to 100 people. At Alert Level 1, people need to be ready in case COVID-19 reappears. The new levels will be in place for 14 days before new decisions are made on Oct. 5.
The two deaths of COVID-19 are "a reminder of just how serious this virus is," Ardern said, referring to the two recent deaths of two brothers in Auckland.
She stressed the requirement of wearing masks on public transport including planes.