New Zealand records 75 new COVID cases

Police set up checkpoints across the city of Auckland to prevent non-essential travel, as New Zealand recorded 75 new cases of COVID-19 Wednesday.

That's a bounce in infections followed two days of seeing case numbers decline.

All but one of the new infections were detected in Auckland.

The Director General of Health, Ashley Bloomfield, said people shouldn't be alarmed:

"Now this latest bounce in numbers is not unexpected, we did see this last April... The smoothing of a average over the last three days, it is clear that, on average, that the daily case numbers are lower than the peak in the early eighties but of course we will be watching carefully."

New Zealand was largely coronavirus-free until the outbreak of the Delta variant prompted Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern to order a snap nationwide lockdown on August 17.

The country is now racing to vaccinate its population with the government under pressure to catch up with other nations.

Just over a quarter of the population has been fully vaccinated so far.

Meanwhile, around 1.7 million people in Auckland still remain in strict level 4 lockdown for another two weeks.

Restrictions for the rest of the country were loosened on Wednesday.

It meant that outside of Auckland, New Zealanders could visit beaches, queue for takeaways, and play golf.

However, businesses can only provide contactless services, while schools and offices remained shut nationwide.

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