Auckland lockdown boundary lifts as thousands make exodus

The post-lockdown Auckland exodus
The Auckland exodus after New Zealand's longest lockdown - four months since August 17. Image: RNZ

RNZ News

Aucklanders are travelling out of New Zealand’s largest city today as the border around Tāmaki Makaurau opens for the first time in 120 days.

Police said traffic was flowing freely early this morning.

Waka Kotahi and the police removed checkpoints to the north and south of the region since the midnight change in restrictions.

Spot checks are happening on roads out of the city, at the airport, and at two new checkpoints in Northland.

The new checkpoints were set at Uretiti on SH1 and on SH12 at Maungaturoto, for northbound traffic only.

Anyone can leave Auckland with proof they are double vaccinated or have recently tested negative for covid-19.

Transport operators will also be checking on passengers’ status.

Even with border restrictions in place, more than 2 million cars have passed through the northern and southern boundaries since the end of August, mostly carrying essential workers.

News reports said that 12,000 people were booked on Air New Zealand flights out of the city today.

80 new community cases
The Ministry of Health reported 80 new community cases of covid-19 yesterday with two new cases identified at the border.

In a statement, the ministry also reported that several members of a flight crew had been identified as close contacts of a omicron variant case in Australia.

“These crew members arrived in New Zealand last night and are in a MIQ facility, as per standard international air crew arrival procedure,” the statement said.

Of the new community cases today, 51 are in Auckland, 21 in Waikato, seven in Bay of Plenty and one in the Taupō district.

The ministry also announced an additional case in Canterbury today, which will be officially counted in today’s case numbers.

There are now 9890 community cases in the current outbreak. The number of active cases is 6863.

This article is republished under a community partnership agreement with RNZ.

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