New Zealand reports first death in Delta outbreak


WELLINGTON, Sept. 4 — New Zealand reported the first death in the latest COVID-19 Delta variant outbreak in the community, said the Ministry of Health in a statement on Saturday.

In addition, 20 new community cases of COVID-19 were reported in Auckland on Saturday, Xinhua news agency reported.

The death was an Auckland woman in her 90s who was a confirmed case of COVID-19. The woman had a number of underlying health conditions.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern expressed her condolences to the family and loved ones of the person who passed away from COVID-19 overnight.

“Every death is a reminder of the damage COVID-19 can cause when it gets into our community,” said Ardern.

“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 being such an important tool to stop its spread,” said Ardern.

The woman’s underlying health conditions and the state of her health meant it was not clinically appropriate for her to receive ventilator or ICU care, it was reported.

The woman was admitted to the hospital on Aug. 28 from home. She was a household contact of a case and had been confirmed as a case before admission to the hospital.

The woman’s family member urged everyone to take COVID-19 seriously and follow public health advice.

New Zealand’s largest city Auckland is at COVID-19 Alert Level 4 lockdown and the rest of the country is under Alert Level 3 restrictions.