A patient diagnosed with Covid-19 has died at a New Zealand hospital, the Ministry of Health has confirmed, after being transferred from a managed isolation facility for treatment of a separate, serious health condition last week.
The person, whose death was not yet being included in New Zealand’s official Covid-related death toll, was diagnosed with the virus after their admission to North Shore hospital in Auckland.
The ministry said more information on the case would be provided on Monday, pending further investigations.
The Ministry of Health said in a statement: “The patient was transferred from a managed isolation facility into hospital-level care for the treatment of a serious non-Covid-19 related condition on 5 February.
“This person subsequently returned a positive result for Covid-19 following their admission. This positive result has been reported previously.”
Dr Ashley Bloomfield, the director general of health, said on Saturday: “On behalf of New Zealanders, I want to recognise this family’s loss.”
Two more cases were recorded on Saturday in managed isolation facilities, taking the country’s total number of active cases to 45.
Only 25 people have died of Covid-19 in New Zealand, which has been routinely praised for its response to the pandemic.
After closing its borders and enforcing a strict lockdown for five weeks in March, the country was able to lift most restrictions. The few cases of community transmission have been quickly stamped out with more localised lockdowns.
On Friday, the prime minister, Jacinda Ardern, announced that the first vaccines would begin arriving in New Zealand one month ahead of schedule and that inoculation of border workers would begin next weekend.
Their household contacts will be prioritised next, followed by healthcare and other essential workers, with vaccination of the wider population expected to begin in the second half of the year.
Ardern has said borders will remain closed until the nation is “vaccinated and protected” – likely for all of 2021.