First death attributed to Covid-19 in New Zealand

First death attributed to Covid-19 in New Zealand

63 new cases take the total to 514 including 56 people fully recovered

Venkat Raman
Auckland, March 29, 2020

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern at the media conference (File Photo)

New Zealand recorded its first death attributed Covid-19 today.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Director General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield said that a woman in her 70s died this morning at Grey Base Hospital in Greymouth.

A resident of West Coast, she was diagnosed with coronavirus on Friday, March 27, 2020.

Dr Bloomfield said that the woman was admitted to the Hospital two or three days before she was tested for the virus.

He said that there was a link to overseas travel but the matter is under investigation and that 21 District Health Board (DHB) staff who had treated the woman when the diagnosis was considered to be influenza have gone into self-isolation.

“No other close contacts of the woman have been tested yet. This latest sad news reinforces our move to Alert Level 4. The number of cases of community transmission will certainly continue to rise,” Dr Bloomfield said.

New Zealand account

He said that as at 9 am today, there were 63 new cases of the virus including 60 confirmed cases and three suspected cases, taking the total to 514 cases in New Zealand.

“We are still seeing a strong link to overseas as well as travel,” he said.

Ms Ardern said this would be an enormously difficult time for the family of the person who died and that the thoughts of everyone in New Zealand would be with the family.

“The unfortunate death also brings home exactly why we are taking such strong measures to stop the spread of this virus. Our older New Zealanders and those with underlying health issues are by far the most at risk. Our shield of protection for these people is physical distance. Today’s death is a reminder of the fight that we have on our hands; stay at home, break the chain and save lives,” Ms Ardern said.

She said that 840 people arrived from overseas yesterday (Saturday, March 28, 2020) and the number of arrivals is falling significantly.

“We have to keep in mind though that returning New Zealanders through no fault of their own do carry the greatest risk,” she said.

Appeal to elders

Ms Ardern worried about older New Zealanders who may have a tendency not to seek help.

“I want to again restate, you must stay home. I appeal to people, particularly parents and those who are elderly or with underlying health conditions to stay home as much as possible. I have had a number of people say to me that they have not been able to convince their parents to listen to the advice. Anyone out there who is over 70 or has underlying health conditions who is not listening to their children, please listen to me. You must stay at home. It is devastating to lose anyone, it is devastating to lose a parent, I do not want that to happen to your children. Please stay at home,” she said.

Police resources mobilised

Warning against bullying on social media, Ms Ardern said that Police have confirmed that they have all the resources in place to enforce the regulations relating to the State of Emergency, Epidemic Notice and Covid-19 Alert 4.

Amidst reports that some supermarkets inflated prices of some goods, she said that the government was looking into specific cases of specific food items.

Welch said he hadn’t heard of anyone flouting the precautions implemented by the government to prevent the virus’ transmission.

More than 660,000 infections have been confirmed globally and more than 30,000 deaths, according to figures collated by Johns Hopkins University. Nearly 140,000 patients have recovered.

Coronavirus cases around the world

Total Number of Cases: 664,731; Deaths: 30,892; Recovered: 142.429
United States: 123,776 cases, 2229 deaths, 3231 recovered
Italy: 92,472 cases, 10,023 deaths, 12384 recovered
China: 81,439 cases, 3300 deaths, 75448 recovered
Spain: 73,235 cases, 5982 deaths, 12,285 recovered
Germany: 57,695 cases, 433 deaths, 8481 recovered
France: 37,575 cases, 2314 deaths, 5700 recovered
Iran: 35,408 cases, 2517 deaths, 11679 recovered
United Kingdom: 17,089 cases, 1019 deaths, 135 recovered
Switzerland: 14,076 cases, 264 deaths, 1595 recovered
Netherlands: 9762 cases, 639 deaths, 3 recovered
India: 987 case, 25 deaths, 87 recovered
New Zealand: 514 cases, 1 death, 56 recovered
Fiji: 5 cases
Data from World Health Organisation

Source: World Health Organisation, March 29, 2020 (840 pm)


  • Cough or sneeze into your elbow or by covering your mouth and nose with tissues.
  • Wash your hands with soap and water often (for at least 20 seconds).
  • Avoid close contact with people who are unwell (try to stay at least 2 metres away)
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth.
  • Avoid personal contact with sick people, such as kissing and sharing cups or food.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces and objects, such as doorknobs.
  • Stay home if you feel unwell.
  • Practice low-touch shopping. Do not handle things you are not buying, keep your distance, be aware of how you are touching things like bank cards, money, ATMs and Eftpos machines. Wash your hands after touching things like this as soon as you can.
  • If you are a business or provide a service: Increase your cleaning routine in between customers.
  • People living in communal spaces must be especially careful with distancing, cleaning and general hygiene.

Physical distancing 

  • Try to put physical distance (two metres) between yourself and other people in public places such as supermarkets.
  • Be kind to others: Make it easy for them to keep 2 metres from you – e.g. keep a 2 metres space in front of you in a supermarket queue, and stay 2 metres back from counters and reception desks.

Please stay home

  • Do not go into any public places if you are feeling unwell and minimise close contact even in your home – ring ahead if you need a service.
  • Call Healthline on 0800-3585453 if you have any symptoms and have undertaken any overseas travel in the past 14 days, or have been in close contact with someone confirmed with COVID-19. Please do not go directly to a pharmacy, GP clinic, urgent care centre or emergency department.

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