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New Zealand to ease strict lockdown as Covid-19 numbers fall

The country reported five new cases of the virus today but has not seen widespread community transition.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern (file photo).
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern (file photo).
Image: PA Images

NEW ZEALAND IS preparing to ease rules on a strict lockdown put in place to limit the spread of Covid-19. 

The country reported five new cases of the virus today but has not seen widespread community transition and will allow a partial reopening of the economy.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said the country has so far managed to avoid the worst scenarios for an outbreak and would continue to hunt down the last few cases.

From midnight local time (1pm Irish time), certain businesses such as construction will be allowed to reopen, but social distancing rules will still apply.

Meanwhile, South Korea is looking at reopening schools as the number of cases begins to tail off.

South Korea 

Authorities reported 10 new cases today, the 26th straight day where this number has been in double figures.

Using an active test-and-quarantine program, South Korea has so far managed to slow its outbreak without imposing lockdowns or business bans.

However, schools have been closed and remote-learning programmes set up in their place.

Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun instructed education officials to prepare measures to ensure hygiene and enforce distance between students at schools so the government could announce a timeline for reopening schools no later than early May.

Authorities in China reported three new cases today and have now gone 12 days without recording a death relating to Covid-19.

The coronavirus outbreak originated from the country, and 723 people remain in hospital suffering from the virus, while a further 1,000 are being kept in isolation.

Beijing added one additional post-mortem death to its count, raising China’s overall death toll to 4,633 from 82,830 cases.

Of the new cases, two were imported and one was detected in the province of Heilongjiang bordering Russia, according to the National Health Commission.

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