NEW ZEALAND has lifted social distancing restrictions for the second time after successfully 'beating the virus'.
The country had previously gained worldwide respect after strict lockdown measures and a high level of compliance from citizens had led to more than 100 days without a single case of community transmission.
In August, however, a cluster was discovered in Auckland, leading the city-- with a population of 1.5 million-- into another strict lockdown for several weeks.
The measures have worked, however, and restrictions have been lifted in Auckland after it went 12 days without reporting a single case of community transmission.
The city will now rejoin the rest of New Zealand on Level 1 restrictions-- the lowest possible-- and 50,000 sports fans will now be able to watch the upcoming Bledisloe Cup Test rugby match in Eden Park later in Auckland later this month.
The news comes as Ireland's GAA association has announced the suspension of all games at every level across the island of Ireland following a lack of social distancing and a spike in cases nationwide, with the threat of a Level 5 lockdown looming.
New Zealand, which has a population similar to that of the Republic of Ireland, implemented strict border controls and mandatory quarantine for anyone allowed entry into the country.
This, along with a high level of compliance from citizens, allowed the country to 'beat the virus' twice.
Speaking yesterday, Prime Minister Jacina Ardern acknowledged that two lockdowns had been tough on people, but said "Aucklanders and New Zealanders stuck to the plan that has worked twice now, and beat the virus again".
New Zealand has reported 25 deaths from the virus since the pandemic began, and currently has 40 active cases out of a population of five million people.