New Zealand reports 65 new locally acquired cases of COVID-19

FILE PHOTO: A COVID-19 lockdown remains in place as an outbreak of cases affects New Zealand
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(Reuters) - New Zealand reported 65 new locally acquired cases of COVID-19, with all in locked-down Auckland, as the country readies for a mass immunisation drive on Saturday when it hopes to administer a record 100,000 vaccine doses.

Auckland, the country's largest city, entered into a lockdown in mid-August to stamp out an outbreak of the Delta variant, with officials looking to end the strict restrictions when full vaccination rates reach 90%.

About 2.6 million New Zealanders have so far been fully vaccinated, or about 62% of the eligible population.

New Zealand, which had stayed largely virus-free for most of the pandemic until a Delta outbreak in mid-August, is now looking to live with COVID-19 through higher inoculations. It reported 71 cases on Thursday, the biggest rise in six weeks.

(Reporting by Renju Jose in Sydney; Editing by Sandra Maler)

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