The Queen has telephoned New Zealand’s Prime Minister to see how the country is coping during the coronavirus pandemic.
Jacinda Ardern said she received a “wee note” saying the monarch wanted to “catch up and see how everyone in New Zealand was getting on in the midst of COVID-19”.
The Queen, 94, is sovereign of New Zealand but no longer carries out overseas visits. She last visited the country in her Golden Jubilee year of 2002.
Ms Ardern described it as “such a treat” to speak to the Queen on Tuesday, saying on Instagram: “Her affection for New Zealand, her interest in what’s happening here and her memory of places and events that are special to us never ceases to amaze me.”
View this post on Instagram
A few days ago we got a wee note to say that the Queen wanted to catch up and see how everyone in New Zealand was getting on in the midst of COVID-19. It was such a treat to speak with Her Majesty tonight. Her affection for New Zealand, her interest in what’s happening here and her memory of places and events that are special to us never ceases to amaze me.
A post shared by Jacinda Ardern (@jacindaardern) on
The Queen welcomed Ms Ardern, who was then pregnant with her daughter Neve, to Buckingham Palace for the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in London in 2018.
With its number of new cases of the COVID-19 illness waning, New Zealand’s government has eased its lockdown.
Most students will continue studying from home and workers are still required to work from home if they can, while everyone is required to maintain social distancing.
But restaurants have been able to open for takeaway orders, construction can restart and golfers and surfers can play again. Takeaway chains reported bumper business on Tuesday – the first day of New Zealand moving to level three restrictions – with queues of up to 40 cars waiting to pick up coffee and food.
New Zealand reported just two new COVID-19 infections on Wednesday and the country’s health authorities said they are winning the battle against the virus but warned people not to get complacent.
They had also issued 104 notices to Kiwis breaching alert level three in its first 24 hours. There were a further 742 complaints about businesses flouting rules, mostly about physical distancing.