New Zealand reports daily record COVID-19 cases, urges vaccinations
New Zealand on Tuesday broke its record for the number of new daily coronavirus cases amid an outbreak of the virus in one of its largest cities.
Health officials reported 94 new infections, which surpassed its record of 89 infections in a day that was reported during the early days of the pandemic and have urged residents to get vaccinated as a result, according to The Associated Press.
Most of the new infections were found in Auckland, which has been under a two-month lockdown. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern told the AP that she believes lockdown rule-breakers have been a factor in the spread of the virus and that many young people are now falling ill.
“I know the highs and lows of cases is incredibly hard on people, particularly those in Tamaki Makaurau,” Ardern said, using the Indigenous Maori name for Auckland. “I just wanted to reinforce again that we’re not powerless. We do have the ability to keep cases as low as we can.”
Early on in the pandemic, New Zealand combated outbreaks with strict lockdowns, contact tracing and isolating people who contracted the virus. That approach has been less effective amid the surge of the highly transmissible delta variant, AP noted.
Ardern has reportedly advocated for more New Zealanders to get vaccinated against the virus, with the most recent effort including a televised “Vaxathon” that drew almost 130,000 people to get the shot.
Currently, 85 percent of eligible New Zealanders have received one dose of the vaccine and 67 percent of the country’s population are fully vaccinated.