New Zealand reports record daily cases as Delta spreads

New Zealand reports record daily cases as Delta spreads
A member of the public receives a Pfizer vaccine at a drive-through coronavirus disease (Covid-19) vaccination clinic in Otara during a single-day vaccination drive, aimed at significantly increasing the percentage of vaccinated people in the country, in Auckland, New Zealand on Oct 16, 2021
PHOTO: Reuters

WELLINGTON - New Zealand recorded on Tuesday (Oct 19) the highest number of daily cases since the pandemic began last year, as the Delta variant of the coronavirus spreads in its biggest city Auckland.

The South Pacific nation reported 94 new Covid-19 infections on Tuesday, of which 87 were in Auckland, taking the total number of cases in the current outbreak to 2,099. There have been 28 deaths in total due to Covid-19 and 38 people are hospitalised over the virus.

Once the poster child for stamping out Covid-19, New Zealand has been fighting a Delta outbreak that has spread across Auckland and its neighbouring regions despite tough lockdown and border closures.

About 1.7 million Aucklanders still face tight restrictions under a lockdown, though this has not stopped the surge of the virus. The lockdown in Auckland was extended by two weeks on Monday.

Authorities have blamed rule-breakers and unvaccinated people for the rise in cases.

"The rules matter for everyone and the ask of testing if you are symptomatic applies to everyone," Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said at a news conference on Tuesday.

"We need everyone who can be, to be vaccinated ... we all have a part to play," she said.

New Zealand had stayed largely virus-free for most of the pandemic until the Delta outbreak in mid-August. The government now aims to have the country live with Covid-19 through higher inoculations . Nearly 67per cent of the population is now fully vaccinated.

READ ALSO: New Zealand drops its Covid-19 elimination plan as Delta persists

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