New Zealand confirms first death from COVID-19

Clay Curtis
March 29, 2020

New Zealand has reported its first coronavirus-related death, a woman in her 70s on the west coast of South Island.

When she was asked about postnatal care and the restrictions around having a support person after the birth, she said hospitals were juggling keeping mums and baby safe during an incredibly hard time.

New Zealand health officials confirmed new 63 cases on Sunday - a drop from the increase of the previous two days - with the country's overall tally of coronavirus cases standing at 514, said the director general of health, Ashley Bloomfield.

"None of us are willing to draw any conclusions at this early stage".

"We all need to be vigilant".

Dr Bloomfield said New Zealand had sufficient hospital capacity to manage the current and projected cases.

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"There are people we should be particularly mindful of, and new mums, I'd say, are amongst them". I've read the stories but I've also read the stories of people who have loved ones who are very ill in hospital and are unable to visit as well.

"You can imagine it wasn't long ago that I was in that same position", said Ardern who gave birth in 2018. A new online form will allow New Zealanders to report non-compliance directly to the police.

Ardern was questioned about why community newspapers were not regarded as an essential service and she said the concern was around the distribution network and in printing but Faafoi was looking into it. But, again, we apply the same principle we also have: "We have to guarantee the safety of the workforce".

During a press conference, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said older people in the country were most at risk and asked people to practise social distancing to protect them.

"I've had a number of people who have said to me that they have not been able to convince their parents to listen to their advice".

The woman who died had originally been diagnosed as having had influenza. "Please stay at home".

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