New Zealand announces re-opening of schools, restaurants and gyms as it prepares to lift lockdown

9:30am, Tue 12 May 2020
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New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has announced that as of Thursday, May 14 shops, malls, cafes, restaurants, cinemas, gyms and playgrounds will all re-open.

On May 18 all children will go back to school, while on bars will re-open three days later.

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Although social distancing will still be required, it signals the end of the country's extremely successful lockdown strategy.

Ardern has been praised for proactively locking down the country on March 23 before 100 new cases were recorded in a single day.

The approach appears to have stopped the threat of the coronavirus at source and allowed the country to get back to a relatively normal way of life sooner than many other nations.

New Zealand has seen 1,497 confirmed positive cases of coronavirus and just 21 deaths.

Just three fatalities have been recorded over the past two weeks as a result of COVID-19 and the number of new cases each day has been kept below ten for the last three weeks.