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Prime Minister Ardern eases Auckland’s COVID-19 lockdown but events still cancelled
Auckland has emerged from the three-day Level 3 Coronavirus lockdown imposed as of 11.59pm last Sunday after three cases of the UK variant of COVID-19 were found in the community.
On Wednesday, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced the ending of the lockdown, even though three more locally transmitted cases have since been discovered. The new cases included students from a high school which will remain shut till next week.
Explaining the lockdown - the first in the country for six months - and its easing, Prime Minister Ardern stated “we wanted to make sure we took a cautious approach because that's much, much better than getting it wrong and having a large-scale outbreak and a long lockdown.”
The closure affected fitness and sport facilities as well as events while also prompting the postponement of the America's Cup 2021 Prada Cup final although the finalists INEOS Team UK and Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli continued to train.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said the Cup organisers will be taking a "wait and see" approach to their planning of the challenger series, adding “they haven't confirmed when the next race will be.
"I imagine they will be doing exactly what the rest of New Zealand is doing and keeping an eye out on the new information that comes to hand."
The winner of the Prada Cup final is set to take on Team New Zealand in the America's Cup match next month.
With the end of the lockdown, Auckland's two million residents can go back to work and school, and public and hospitality venues can reopen. However, social distancing in public is still required and gatherings of more than 100 people are still banned.
The rest of the country has had restrictions loosened further, with no restrictions on movements or gatherings.
However, the lockdown uncertainty has seen Auckland Live, its partners and artists involved in Auckland Live Summer in the Square announce that events scheduled from Thursday 18th to Monday 22nd February will not be going ahead.
In a statement, the organisers advised “due to the nature of the events planned and difficulty limiting audience numbers in Aotea Square, the events have been cancelled to support the welfare and safety of our artists, staff and audiences.”
The Auckland Coronavirus outbreak prompted the Australian Government to suspend an arrangement that allowed New Zealanders to enter Australia without serving a 14-day hotel quarantine period.
9th February 2021 - Auckland’s Eden Park gets confirmation it can stage concert events
20th January 2021 - FIFA to change Club World Cup schedule after withdrawal of Auckland City
3rd February 2021 - New Zealand Government rolls out $50 million regional events fund
12th August 2020 - New Zealand Government reintroduces Coronavirus lockdowns
2nd June 2020 - New Zealand Rugby announces details of new domestic competition
4th November 2020 - Emirates Team New Zealand moves forward with plans for fan-focused America’s Cup
6th July 2015 - Auckland Live recognised in Arts Access Awards 2015
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