04 Sep 2021, 10:07

NZ Covid outbreak claims first death in six months

WELLINGTON, Sept 4, 2021 (BSS/AFP) - New Zealand recorded its first Covid-

related death in six months Saturday, but health authorities said there were
signs the outbreak of the highly infectious Delta variant was coming under

   A woman in her 90s, who had underlying health conditions and could not
receive a ventilator or intensive care support, died in an Auckland hospital
on Friday night.

   She is the 27th person to die with Covid-19 in New Zealand and the first
recorded since February 16 this year.

   Authorities said the woman was a household contact of a person who had
already tested positive for the virus in Auckland, New Zealand's largest city
with a population of around 1.7 million.

   New Zealand has been battling a coronavirus outbreak since the first
locally transmitted case in six months was detected in mid-August, thrusting
the country of five million into lockdown.

   Since then, 782 cases have been recorded, primarily in Auckland, which
remains at its highest level of restrictions while the rest of the country
has eased back restrictions.

   The death was "a deeply sad reminder of why the measures we are
undertaking right now are so important," Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said.

   "Our older New Zealanders and those with underlying health issues are by
far the most at risk from the virus, and one of the reasons lockdowns are
such an important tool to stop its spread."

   Only 20 new positive cases were reported Saturday, down from a peak in the
latest outbreak of 84 last weekend.

   Caroline McEnlay, the director of public health, has described the
declining numbers over the past week as "encouraging" and said, "we are being
successful in breaking the chain of transmission."


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