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New Zealand suffers its first coronavirus death

Screen shot of press conference via TVNZ
Source: TVNZ


Wellington, NEW ZEALAND — At a press conference on Sunday (NZ time) Director-General of Health Ashley Bloomfield confirmed a woman in her 70s on the West Coast (of New Zealand), who was initially thought to have influenza, had died.

The woman died in Grey Base Hospital. The woman, who had underlying conditions already, was known to staff at the hospital.

On Friday morning she was confirmed to have Covid-19 and her condition deteriorated over the weekend.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern who also spoke at the press conference said, "it is a very sad day, it also brings home exactly why we are taking such strong measures to stop the spread of this virus."

"Our older New Zealanders and those with underlying health issues are by far at the most risk, it is critical that we all stay at home to give our older New Zealanders as much protection as we possibly can, and our shield of protection for these people is physical distance.

"Today's death is a reminder of the fight that we have on our hands and it's a reminder of why it's so important, and everyone can play their part with the simplest of tasks, by not having contact with people outside of your bubble. Stay home, break the chain and save lives.

"No one wants loss of life, that's why we are all presently self-isolating, to try to prevent that as much as we can."

New Zealand is currently in the first days of a nationwide level four alert lockdown to try and stop the transmission of Covid-19. This means everyone's required to stay home unless out for exercise locally, shopping for essential items or are an essential worker travelling to work.

Dr Bloomfield also said there were 63 new cases of coronavirus in new Zealand, made up of 60 confirmed cases and three probable cases. The total number of cases in New Zealand is 514.

Nine people are in hospitals throughout the country, with one who is in intensive care.

There are now 56 people who have recovered.

Read more at TVNZ