Coronavirus: New Zealanders seek fast food on first day of freedom from lockdown

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New Zealanders queued for burgers, fries and coffee takeaway on Tuesday after they were freed from a month-long lockdown, which Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has credited with eliminating domestic transmission of the coronavirus.

Around 400,000 people returned to work after Ardern shifted the country’s alert level down a notch, loosening some of the tough movement restrictions that shut down businesses for weeks.

“It’s hard to explain how good this tastes,” Christopher Bishop, a lawmaker, said on Twitter after posting a picture with a takeaway coffee cup.

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Long queues of cars snaked up to McDonald’s Corp outlets in Auckland and Wellington from the early hours as people sought a fast food fix.

“We got quarter pounders, Big Macs, drinks … I’ve still got two cheeseburgers left but I can’t finish them,” Tai Perez, who arrived at a McDonald’s outlet in Auckland at 4am, was quoted as saying by the New Zealand Herald.

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Surfing, walks on the beach and a round of golf were other popular pursuits on Tuesday as the country’s 5 million residents experienced a taste of freedom after one of the strictest lockdowns in the world in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

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