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New Zealand set to scrap social distancing next week

New Zealand is set to scrap social distancing next week: Jacinda Arden confirms it will decide whether to move to alert level 1 on Monday

  • PM Jacinda Ardern said: ‘Our strategy of go hard, go early has paid off’ 
  • New Zealand has not recorded a new case of coronavirus in the last 11 days
  • And there was just one active case of COVID-19 in the country on Tuesday
  • Level 1 will remove almost all restrictions and life will ‘feel very, very normal’

New Zealand is set to scrap social distancing from next week and move to level 1 after 11 days without a single new case of coronavirus.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said today: ‘Our strategy of go hard, go early has paid off… and in some cases, beyond expectations.’ 

Swinging into level 1 means all social distancing measures and limits on mass gatherings will be lifted, but borders will remain closed.  

New Zealand had just one active case of COVID-19 in the country on Tuesday, and has only recorded a total of 22 deaths and 1,154 cases since the pandemic began. 

Patrons enjoying a drink in Christchurch on May 21 – the date when the final phase of alert 2 came into effect. Alert level 2, which was initiated on May 13, allows for businesses to get back to work, shops, schools, restaurants, cinemas and bars to reopen and social gatherings of up to 100 people.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said today: 'Our strategy of go hard, go early has paid off... and in some cases, beyond expectations'

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said today: ‘Our strategy of go hard, go early has paid off… and in some cases, beyond expectations’

This was largely because of a strict lockdown enforced for nearly seven weeks, in which most businesses were shut and everyone except essential workers had to stay at home.

‘We will be one of the first countries in the world to return to this level of normality so quickly,’ Ardern said.

The cabinet will decide on moving to level 1 on June 8, earlier than the planned date of June 22, she said. 

Ardern said the move was contingent on there being no new cases over the next six days. 

New Zealand had just one active case of COVID-19 in the country on Tuesday, and has only recorded a total of 22 deaths and 1,154 cases since the pandemic began

New Zealand had just one active case of COVID-19 in the country on Tuesday, and has only recorded a total of 22 deaths and 1,154 cases since the pandemic began

Alert level 2, which was initiated on May 13, allows for businesses to get back to work, shops, schools, restaurants, cinemas and bars to reopen and social gatherings of up to 100 people. 

The only curb on freedoms appears to be the enforcement of social distancing and the limits on mass gatherings. It is not clear precisely how level 1 will differ.

Ardern said that ‘life (at level 1) feels very, very normal,’ except for tight controls at the borders. 

Thousands of New Zealanders marched on Monday decrying the death of George Floyd, a black American, in police custody in the U.S. last week, despite social distancing restrictions.

Ardern said she was 'horrified' by Floyd's death but noted that the protesters had flouted rules (pictured: hundreds of Black Lives Matter demonstrators in Auckland on Monday)

Ardern said she was ‘horrified’ by Floyd’s death but noted that the protesters had flouted rules (pictured: hundreds of Black Lives Matter demonstrators in Auckland on Monday)

Ardern said she was ‘horrified’ by Floyd’s death but noted that the protesters had flouted rules.

‘I think I stand with everyone else in being horrified in what we’ve seen,’ regarding Floyd, Ardern told state broadcaster TVNZ in an interview earlier in the day.

‘I don’t want to stop peaceful protests… but rules are there to protect people,’ she said, adding that she understood the sentiment of the protesters.

Ardern has been described by some liberal supporters as an ‘anti-Trump,’ promoting issues such as social justice, multilateralism, and equality.

Avatar film crew spark coronavirus row in New Zealand after they were allowed in despite travel ban

James Cameron and his 55 crew have been granted permission to enter New Zealand to film his latest movie, Avatar 2.

They landed over the weekend on a privately chartered plane despite the country’s travel ban.

Economic development minister, Phil Twyford, approved their entry because they could be categorised as ‘other essential worker.’

Jon Landau, Cameron’s producer, posted an Instagram picture which he captioned: ‘Made it to New Zealand. Our 14-day government-supervised self-isolation now begins.’

Avatar became the highest-grossing movie of all time when it was released in 2009, with a domestic box office tally of $760.5 million and a worldwide gross of $2.790 billion

Avatar became the highest-grossing movie of all time when it was released in 2009, with a domestic box office tally of $760.5 million and a worldwide gross of $2.790 billion 

The 56 movie makers from Los Angeles are quarantining at the QT Hotel in Wellington.

Avatar 2 is said to take place 12 years after the events of the first movie, following Jake Sully (Sam Worthington) as he continues to roam the planet of Pandora with the new family he has with Neytiri (Zoe Saldana).

Avatar became the highest-grossing movie of all time when it was released in 2009, with a domestic box office tally of $760.5 million and a worldwide gross of $2.790 billion.

Its domestic box office record was broken in 2015 by Star Wars: The Force Awakens, which took in $936.6 million, though it fell short worldwide with $2.068 billion.

The worldwide record was broken last year by Avengers: Endgame, which earned $2.797 billion worldwide, $858.3 million of which coming domestically. 

James Cameron and his 55 crew have been granted permission to enter New Zealand to film his latest movie, Avatar 2

James Cameron and his 55 crew have been granted permission to enter New Zealand to film his latest movie, Avatar 2 

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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