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New Zealand's delta COVID outbreak grows amid race to vaccinate

Extended lockdown tests economic resilience with uncertain end point

New Zealanders drive to a vaccination center in Auckland on Aug. 26, with the country's largest city under a strict lockdown.

WELLINGTON -- New Zealand prided itself on being a model for beating COVID-19 but is now grappling with a new delta-variant-fueled outbreak that has prompted a return to some of the world's strictest lockdown rules, shuttering swaths of the economy.

By Friday, the number of community cases in the outbreak had risen to 347, up a record 70 from a day earlier -- modest numbers by global standards, but alarming for New Zealand. Apart from 14 infections in the capital Wellington, all were in the largest city, Auckland.

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