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NZ COVID-19 Timeline Update 1 September 2020

As you may be aware, New Zealand is now dealing with a new COVID-19 outbreak.

By international standards the outbreak is small. One "cluster" seems to have been the source of the outbreak. New cases per day range between 15 and 5, depending on the day.

To deal with the outbreak, the New Zealand Government put Auckland into an "Alert Level 3" lockdown for two weeks. This lockdown ended 30 August 2020 at 11:59 pm. Currently, Auckland is at "Alert Level 2.5" with the rest of New Zealand at "Alert Level 2". This means that schools are operating countrywide, but mass gatherings are restricted. Aucklanders are encouraged to wear masks when leaving their houses, and the whole of New Zealand is required to wear masks on public transport.

At the time of writing, it looks like this outbreak may have been brought under control. New Zealand still has cases presenting. However, these cases are either linked to the Auckland "cluster" or presenting in people returning to New Zealand from overseas who are in our managed isolation facilities.

We are hopeful that we will return to the elimination status. Only time will tell.

Meanwhile, life goes on in New Zealand. As of today, you can go to school, go to the movies, meet friends at cafés, restaurants and bars. Albeit with limits on numbers and social distancing in place.

In terms of the return of international students, there is little new information. It is clear there will be no opening of the borders to international students in 2020. In 2021, there is hope that if no viable vaccine has been found that the government will open up managed isolation to international students. No firm promise or timeline has been given.

It is important to be aware that New Zealand will have an election mid-October 2020. It seems that many decisions are being shelved until after the general election. I suspect any decision regarding opening the border to international students is unlikely to be made until the election has concluded and a new government formed.

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