Daily COVID-19 cases in New Zealand’s latest outbreak continue to grow, with 68 new infections reported on day nine of a national lockdown.
The outbreak has reached 277 cases – 263 in Auckland and 14 in Wellington.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern noted a small jump from the 62 cases confirmed on Wednesday, despite more than a week of lockdown.
“We are in a very similar place to yesterday. With Delta these numbers are not necessarily unexpected … we know it moves faster,” she said on Thursday.
Ms Ardern said further analysis of Wednesday’s 62 cases showed that all but three were from exposure events.
“That tells us something really important, that people are following level four [lockdown rules],” she said.
The new cases have been reported on day nine of a national lockdown.
Ms Ardern has previously said case cases were likely to start to fall after eight-10 days of lockdown.
NZ’s restrictions are likely to be split in coming days, with Auckland treated differently to the rest of the country.
Auckland’s lockdown is due to run until at least Tuesday, which will be a fortnight.
COVID-19 modelling expert Shaun Hendy told Radio NZ the sheer number of cases in NZ’s biggest city meant it would need to spend at least a month in lockdown.
“Aucklanders are used to it now. We do have to ride it out,” Mr Hendy said.
Ms Ardern’s cabinet will meet on Friday to determine lockdown settings for the rest of the country, with calls for a lessening of restrictions where there were no cases.
Opposition Leader Judith Collins said it was “remarkably harsh” to lock down the South Island while there were no community cases.
The outbreak has led Kiwis to vaccination stations.
On Thursday, the country notched a new record for daily vaccinations, with 87,972 doses administered.
“That means 73 per cent of New Zealanders aged 30 plus have either booked or had at least one vaccination,” Ms Ardern said.
From Wednesday, all Kiwis over 30 are eligible to receive vaccinations.