Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced Friday that New Zealand would keep its current coronavirus restrictions in place until at least mid-September as a precaution.
Authorities had earlier lifted a lockdown in the city of Auckland following an outbreak there that began last month, but they continue to limit gathering sizes across the country and mandate that people wear masks on public transport.
“As with last time, a cautious approach is the best long-term strategy to get our economy open and freedoms back faster in the long term,” Ardern said.
New Zealand reported five new virus cases Friday, two among returning travelers already in quarantine and three connected to the Auckland outbreak.
Ardern also said she’d recently been talking with other world leaders, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel, about the danger of people experiencing “lockdown fatigue.”
In other developments in the Asia-Pacific region:
The number of new coronavirus cases in South Korea has stayed below 200 for the second consecutive day amid toughened social distancing rules. The Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Friday it has confirmed 198 additional cases over the past 24 hours The agency says 189 of the new cases were locally infected patients, about 70% of them in the densely populated Seoul metropolitan area. South Korea has seen an uptick in infections since early last month, mostly linked to churches, restaurants, schools and fitness centers in the Seoul area. Authorities in the Seoul area have recently restricted dining at restaurants and ordered the shutdown of churches, night establishments and after-school academies.