Amid falling case numbers, New Zealand has recorded its first COVID-19-related death in more than 200 days.
The Ministry of Health reported a woman in her 90s died in Auckland’s North Shore Hospital on Friday night.
“Every death is a reminder of the damage COVID-19 can cause when it gets into our community,” 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.”
The woman had a number of underlying health conditions, the Ministry of Health says, making it inappropriate for her to receive ventilator or ICU care.
She was admitted to hospital a week ago, catching the virus from a household contact.
The death is the country’s 27th of the pandemic, and the first since February 16 – exactly 200 days ago – and the first as a result of the Delta outbreak.
On Saturday, health officials reported there were 43 Kiwis in hospital, with seven in intensive care.
Despite the death, case numbers continue to fall.
There were 20 new cases on Saturday, solidifying a pattern of falling case numbers.
Cases are shrinking
Since Sunday’s likely peak of 83 cases, daily case numbers have been 53, 49, 75, 49, 28 and now 20.
All of Saturday’s reported cases are from Auckland, the epicentre of the outbreak.
The total number of infected Kiwis stands at 782.
Vaccinations also continue at pace.
On Friday, more than 86,000 doses of Pfizer’s vaccine were administered – around 1.7 per cent of the population.
More than 2.48 million Kiwis are at least partially vaccinated, taking New Zealand slightly past Australia on a per capita basis.
Australia has a bigger percentage of its population fully vaccinated.