New Zealand may remove most coronavirus restrictions next week

New Zealand emerged from one of the strictest lockdowns in the world on May 14.
New Zealand emerged from one of the strictest lockdowns in the world on May 14.PHOTO: AFP

WELLINGTON (BLOOMBERG) - New Zealand could remove most of its remaining restrictions on people and businesses as soon as next week after successfully wiping out the coronavirus.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said on Tuesday (June 2) that cabinet would bring forward its decision on a further relaxation of measures to June 8 and the move could take effect on June 10. The nation's Alert Level would be reduced to 1, which denotes "very few restrictions," Ardern told Radio New Zealand. "It's border controls - and they remain critical - and of course public hygiene measures."

New Zealand is on the verge of eliminating the virus, with just one active case remaining and no new infections for the past 10 days. It got there by enforcing one of the strictest lockdowns in the world, from which it emerged on May 14, but residual restrictions remain in place to limit social interaction in shops and public spaces.

Ardern said the government had planned to review the restrictions on June 22 but the results of the seven-week lockdown had been better than expected, allowing for the decision to be brought forward.