Children are back at school at alert level 2, as another day of no new coronavirus cases provides further promise for limits on gatherings to be increased in the near future. Get all the important news and read the full stories in the links below.

Key developments in NZ

• A 10-person limit on people allowed at religious services will be increased in coming weeks as long as New Zealand's coronavirus cases remain low, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says. There were no new cases today, and with 96 per cent of cases recovered, here's what we know about the remaining active cases.

PM Jacinda Ardern speaks to Newstalk ZB’s Mike Hosking as Kiwis head back to the office and schools after months in lockdown. Audio / Newstalk ZB

• New Zealand Customs is undertaking an investigation into the Ruby Princess cruise ship to establish whether any offences have been committed, the Prime Minister has revealed. Ardern also announced that on Wednesday the Government will launch a digital diary app to aid physical contact tracing methods.

Listen live to Newstalk ZB's coronavirus coverage

Focus: Some have the back to school blues and some are just happy to see their friends again as Flanshaw Road School kids get back in the classroom. Video / Michael Craig

• About 82 per cent of children have returned to school today, but a rumour about forced medication appears to have scared many parents away at some Northland schools.

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Kiwi kids are back to school under alert level 2. Photo / Dean Purcell
Kiwi kids are back to school under alert level 2. Photo / Dean Purcell

• Open schools and stores, busy playgrounds, takeaways and flat whites – level 2 might feel like freedom, but what does level 1 offer us? A quick glance at the four-tier system suggests little difference between this level and the one below it. But look a little closer and the differences emerge.

Auckland Transport shares what to expect when traveling at Alert Level 2. Video / AT

Business update

• Business leaders have given a cautious thumbs-up to the Budget amid concern the projected $200 billion Government debt can be kept under control, and caution that $20.2 billion unspent from the Covid-19 package is not treated as an election "slush fund".

Air New Zealand have made further staff cuts. Photo / Supplied
Air New Zealand have made further staff cuts. Photo / Supplied

• Air New Zealand has told staff it plans to slash 300 engineering and maintenance jobs as part of downsizing, union E tū says. In response, union members are calling for the company to bring back work sent offshore to Singapore in 2015 to protect jobs in New Zealand. The news follows plans to cut about 300 pilot roles, with the 900 remaining taking a 30 per cent pay cut for the next nine months.

• The postponement of Expo 2020 has scuppered a $50 million-plus push by New Zealand to promote itself to the world this year - but the programme's head says the delay could work in this country's favour.

Around the world

• Dozens of doctors are infected and gravediggers are overwhelmed in Kano, Nigeria's second-largest city, where inaction led to an unchecked outbreak. Across Africa, other hotspots are emerging.

• As plans build for a transtasman bubble, some in Australia are worried by recent outbreaks of the virus.

Covid19.govt.nz: The Government's official Covid-19 advisory website

The last word

• Heather du Plessis-Allan argues that the most significant thing the Government could do for the economy will cost far less than the Budget and yet yield massive returns: start a managed opening of the border.

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