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Queen telephones New Zealand PM to check in over coronavirus outbreak

Jacinda Ardern praised the monarch for her affection for the country.

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The Queen greets Jacinda Ardern, Prime Minister of New Zealand, at Buckingham Palace in 2018 (Victoria Jones/PA)

The Queen greets Jacinda Ardern, Prime Minister of New Zealand, at Buckingham Palace in 2018 (Victoria Jones/PA)

The Queen greets Jacinda Ardern, Prime Minister of New Zealand, at Buckingham Palace in 2018 (Victoria Jones/PA)

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 so last travelled there 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.”

The Queen welcomed Ms Ardern, who was then pregnant with her daughter Neve, to Buckingham Palace during 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.

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The Queen, wearing her own kiwi feather korowai given to her for her Coronation in 1953, in Christchurch, New Zealand in 2002 (Fiona Hanson/PA)

The Queen, wearing her own kiwi feather korowai given to her for her Coronation in 1953, in Christchurch, New Zealand in 2002 (Fiona Hanson/PA)

PA

The Queen, wearing her own kiwi feather korowai given to her for her Coronation in 1953, in Christchurch, New Zealand in 2002 (Fiona Hanson/PA)

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 can now reopen for takeaway orders, construction can restart, and golfers and surfers can play again.

New Zealand reported just three new infections on Tuesday and the country’s health authorities said they are winning the battle against the virus, but warned people not to get complacent.

PA