New Zealand prime minister Jacinda Ardern is speaking now about the country’s lifting of its most extreme restrictions.
Today, 400,000 Kiwis will return to work, and takeaway food services will re-open.
Monday was the final day of almost five weeks of strict level four lockdown measures, which New Zealand's Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern described as "the strictest constraints placed on New Zealanders in modern history."
On Tuesday, the country eased into a less restrictive lockdown, with 400,000 more New Zealanders heading back to work and 75% of the country's economy operating, according to Ardern. The new level three restrictions also mean that New Zealanders will be able to hold small funerals and buy takeaways.
New Zealand has reported 19 deaths and 1,472 confirmed and probable coronavirus cases, according to Johns Hopkins University. Of those, 1,214 - of 82% of confirmed and probably cases - have recovered, the Ministry of Health said Tuesday.
But while New Zealand's success in eliminating the virus might seem like cause for celebration, Ardern is still urging vigilance.
"We are not out of the woods," she said at a press conference Tuesday. "(Level three) is a recovery room of sorts to assess if the incredible work that New Zealanders have done ... has worked."
But she said that New Zealanders should be more cautious than ever, due to the virus’s incubation period
“It can take from two to 10 days for people to have been exposed to Covid-19 to come down with symptoms. That means we would not smell the smoke for a few weeks and that could put us back where we started before the lockdown.
“With more people going back to work today, we need to be even more vigilant.”
“Level three will see 400,000 more New Zealanders back at work, taking the total to 1 million Kiwis working. At level three, 75% of the economy is working, with building and construction, forestry, manufacturing and contactless retail starting up, major infrastructure projects start again today.”