New Zealand's Covid-19 cases reach second-highest daily total

Country is struggling to beat Delta variant outbreak centred in Auckland

A woman receives the Pfizer shot at a drive-through Covid-19 vaccination clinic in Otara, south Auckland, New Zealand. Photo: Reuters
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New Zealand reported 109 new coronavirus cases on Monday, its second-worst day of daily infections since the pandemic began.

Most of the locally acquired cases are in its largest city, Auckland.

New Zealand has been struggling to beat an outbreak of the Delta variant of Covid-19 centred in Auckland, despite the city remaining under a strict lockdown for more than two months.

The country over the weekend reported the first community case of the virus on its South Island in nearly a year, although health officials said the risks of a further spread from the case remained low.

The surge in cases has forced Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern to abandon her elimination strategy and switch to living with the virus.

Health officials have warned of an uptick in cases until more vaccines are administered.

As of Monday, 71 per cent of eligible New Zealanders were fully inoculated, including 77 per cent of people in Auckland.

Last week, Ms Ardern said New Zealand would end its strict lockdown measures and restore more freedoms only when 90 per cent of its eligible population was fully vaccinated.

The number of cases in the current outbreak has now reached 2,681. New Zealand has recorded 28 coronavirus-related deaths so far in the pandemic.

Updated: October 25, 2021, 5:09 AM