New Zealand on Wednesday reported 75 new coronavirus cases as the infections have spiked again since the country was hit by the Delta variant of the virus last month, according to state-run media.
With the latest infections, the total number of cases in the current community outbreak rose to 687, Radio New Zealand reported.
On Tuesday, the country recorded 49 cases, slightly downed from 53 on Monday.
New Zealand confirmed the first case of the Delta variant in a traveler who arrived in the country from the Australian state of New South Wales on Aug. 17.
Authorities put the entire country on level 4 lockdown after the first locally transmitted COVID-19 case was reported in February.
However, on Tuesday, the government eased the restrictions from level 4 to level 3 for all parts of the country except Auckland, the epicenter of the latest outbreak.
Under level 4 restrictions, everyone must stay at home and businesses are closed except for essential services such as supermarkets and pharmacies.
While under the level 3 alert, people stay at home unless they must leave for essential work or service, but businesses are allowed to resume.
Last September, New Zealand – widely praised for its response to the pandemic – lifted all restrictions across the nation, and there were no new cases for seven months.
Since the outbreak began locally in 2020, New Zealand has reported 3,645 coronavirus cases and 26 deaths in a population of about 5 million.
To protect people from the deadly virus, so far over 2.2 million people have gotten their first vaccine doses, while over 1.2 million have been fully vaccinated, according to the Health Ministry data.
*Writing by Islamuddin Sajid