It's a mere two days until Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and her Cabinet decide whether New Zealand's nationwide lockdown is extended or lifted.
Currently, the alert level 4 restrictions are scheduled to last until next Wednesday. With declining daily numbers of COVID-19 being recorded and low reported community transmission there has been cautious optimism that could be when the country transitions to alert level 3. That phase is still restrictive, but people could extend their bubbles in some situations and more businesses could open.
But there's also concern that the level of surveillance testing - where a sample of the population is tested to check for any silent outbreaks - underway in New Zealand isn't adequate and the country doesn't yet have the ability to contact trace quickly.
Work is underway by officials on both fronts. Surveillance testing was conducted at Queenstown, Canterbury, Waikato, and Auckland supermarkets this week, while officials are also looking into phone applications that could track people's movements and therefore make it easier to find out who has been exposed to an infected person.
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