New Zealand is again relaxing COVID-19 restrictions, confident enough that its elimination strategy has worked a second time.

Four months after first eliminating the virus, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced on Monday Auckland would shift back to ‘level one’ this week, joining the rest of the country.

Auckland was the centre of a fresh outbreak in August, which brought 179 new cases and three new deaths.

Four months after first eliminating the virus, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern (pictured) announced on Monday Auckland would shift back to ‘level one’

Case numbers have significantly dropped in recent weeks and on Monday health officials announced a 10th straight day without community transmission.

‘All signs point to it now being under control,’ Ms Ardern said after chairing a virtual meeting of cabinet from Christchurch.

‘Aucklanders and New Zealanders have stuck to the plan twice now and beat the virus again … we put our heads down and got on with it.

‘There is now a 95 per cent chance of the cluster being eliminated … we are confident it has been contained.’

Auckland’s shift will take place at midnight on Wednesday.

It shows a growing appetite for risk-taking by Ms Ardern’s government, which is likely to be re-elected on October 17.

Auckland was the centre of a fresh outbreak in August, which brought 179 new cases and three new deaths. Pictured: Reisdents walk down Queen Street in Auckland on September 24.

In June, Ms Ardern moved New Zealand to level one after 40 days without community transmission; a month longer than has been recorded after the fresh outbreak.

New Zealand continues to record new cases within its border regime, with 22 international arrivals to test positive for the virus in the last week while in mandatory isolation.

New Zealand’s COVID-19 death toll is 25.

Auckland will return to level one at midnight on Wednesday. Pictured: A general view of High Street on September 24

Source: SOUNDHEALTHHANDLASTINGWEALTH.COM

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