New Zealand on Tuesday recorded its highest increase in COVID-19 cases since April 2020, but authorities said the numbers were not rising exponentially and the majority of the cases were still centered in Auckland where the recent outbreak started.
The South Pacific nation's virus-free run since February ended last week after the highly contagious Delta variant of coronavirus erupted in Auckland, New Zealand's largest city, and quickly spread to the capital Wellington.
Authorities reported 41 new COVID-19 cases on Tuesday, taking the total number of infections in the country to 148, the Director General of Health Chief Ashley Bloomfield said in a statement at a news conference.
Of the new cases, 38 are in Auckland and three are in Wellington.
"It is reassuring that we are not seeing an exponential increase," Bloomfield said, adding that with most cases being reported in Auckland, it indicated infections were not widespread.
However, the health ministry said in a statement later on Tuesday that it would not be unexpected to see a rise in daily case numbers at this stage of the outbreak and at its peak in 2020, New Zealand had a daily total of 89 new cases.