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    ‘We’ve squashed the virus’: New Zealand celebrates as it officially eliminates COVID-19 for the SECOND time and Auckland lowers restrictions from midnight

    • Auckland has gone ten days without any new cases recorded in the community
    • NZ declared they were COVID-free in April before a second wave in August
    • Auckland will ease restrictions to alert level 1 as of midnight on Wednesday 

    New Zealanders are celebrating after it was declared the deadly coronavirus has been eliminated in the community for a second time. 

    Health officials on Wednesday announced the end of the ‘Auckland Autumn cluster’ with the recovery of the last six infected residents and no new cases in ten days.

    The fresh cluster, identified in August, brought an unwelcome end to a 102-day run without any cases in New Zealand

    As of midnight on Wednesday, Auckland’s restrictions will be brought down to an alert level one – joining the rest of the country.

    New Zealand has eliminated coronavirus in the community for a second time (pictured people in Wellington wear face masks)

    The changing of restrictions will mean there is no 100-person limit to public gatherings and no distancing rules in bars and restaurants. 

    Three infections have been recorded within the last 24 hours but these are all in hotel quarantine.

    As part of the celebrations the All Blacks will be able to have a full crowd cheer them on when they go head to head with the Wallabies on October 18. 

    Health Minister Chris Hipkins said Wednesday’s news was a major milestone for the country.

    ‘This is a big milestone. New Zealanders have once again through their collective actions squashed the virus,’ he said.

    Auckland has officially gone ten days without any new infections within the cluster (pictured people walk past a social distancing sign in Auckland)

    Auckland has officially gone ten days without any new infections within the cluster (pictured people walk past a social distancing sign in Auckland)

    Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern (pictured) on Monday said there was a 95 per cent chance the virus was not in the community

    ‘The systems that have been developed and strengthened since our first wave of COVID-19 have worked very effectively to chase down the virus, isolate it, and eliminate it.’

    On Monday, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said there was a 95 per cent chance the virus is not in the community as the country hasn’t recorded a local case since September 24. 

    ‘COVID-19 will be with us for many months to come. But we should still mark these milestones,’ she said. 

    Back in April it was declared New Zealand had beaten the virus before a second wave broke out in Auckland in August.

    The second wave led to 186 new infections in residents and forced Ms Ardern to place the city back into a strict lockdown.  

    There are currently 37 people in quarantine with the virus, including one being treated in an Auckland hospital.

    New Zealand’s pandemic death toll is 25. 

    Back in April it was declared New Zealand had beaten the virus before a second wave broke out in Auckland in August (pictured locals socially distance at a library in Wellington last month)

    Back in April it was declared New Zealand had beaten the virus before a second wave broke out in Auckland in August (pictured locals socially distance at a library in Wellington last month)

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