New Zealand PM Jacinda Ardern has announced a gradual easing of the country’s lockdown measures.

However, the government said the country’s border will remain closed.

At a news conference on Monday, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said the easing will begin starting on Thursday, meaning most businesses and public spaces could reopen.

“But everyone would need to play it safe. We must continue to behave as if the virus is still amongst us,’’ Ardern cautioned.

According to her, schools will re-open from May 18, while bars will be able to re-open on May 21.

“We may have won a few battles, but we have not won the war,’’ the prime minister said.

She said that gatherings at home for weddings, funerals and tangihanga (Maori funeral rites) would be capped at 10 people, while all other social events, either indoors or outdoors, would be limited to 100 people.

Ardern said if case numbers were still low in a fortnight, restrictions on gathering numbers may be eased further.

The country’s total number of reported COVID-19 cases was 1,479, with 21 deaths.

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