New Zealand's Auckland emerges from lockdown, Australia starts AstraZeneca vaccinations
Auckland, New Zealand’s biggest city, emerged on Sunday from a strict weeklong lockdown imposed after a community cluster of the more contagious British coronavirus variant, Trend reports citing Reuters.
There were no new local COVID-19 cases recorded on Sunday, health officials said, marking a full week of no community transmissions across the country.
Footage on TVNZ, New Zealand’s state-owned television network, showed people lining up at coffee shops on Sunday morning with many saying they were feeling relieved.
Auckland, a city of nearly two million, will continue to have limits on public gathering and masks are obligatory on public transport. Restrictions might be further eased on Friday.
Neighbouring Australia also had no local COVID-19 cases on Sunday, making it the 37th day of no infections this year. There have been no related deaths in 2021.
Both countries saw their economies recovering speedily in the second part of 2020. Australia’s economy expanded at a much faster-than-expected pace in the final quarter of last year and all signs were that 2021 has started on a firm footing too.
Coronavirus inoculation began in both countries, with the vaccination rollout in Australia becoming slightly complicated after Italy blocked a shipment of the AstraZeneca’s vaccine.
Australia’s Health Minister Greg Hunt, among the first receive the University of Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine on Sunday after an earlier shipment, said the rollout is on track.
Inoculation with the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine started in February, but most Australians will be vaccinated with the University of Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine.