Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has announced New Zealand’s decision to ease lockdown restrictions in Auckland. With Ardern's strategy already in action, Aucklanders will be able to meet outdoors and go to the beach, while early childhood centres will also reopen.
However, the dates for a phased reopening of retail stores and, later, bars and restaurants are yet to be finalised.
In addition, New Zealand has also rolled out mandatory vaccination guidelines for all foreign nationals entering New Zealand, effective 1 November.
Travellers will be required to declare their vaccination status when registering with the country's isolation system and provide proof of vaccination or exemption to their airline and customs officers upon landing. The mandate is applicable for people above 17.
Ardern acknowledged that the elimination strategy had served the country incredibly well but that the outbreak of the Delta variant created a stir and caused more chaos.
With about 65 per cent of New Zealanders vaccinated with one dose and 40 per cent fully vaccinated, the country appears to be in a better position to ease restrictions.
While there's a good reason to feel optimistic about the future, Ardern said, "We cannot rush."