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Cook Islands has reported the country’s first covid-19 pandemic death.

The 63-year-old woman died on the way to hospital on the island of Aitutaki, Prime Minister Mark Brown said in a statement posted on Facebook.

“It is with great sadness that I announce that we have recorded our first in-country death attributed to covid-19,” Brown said.

“The deceased was a 63-year-old woman on the island of Aitutaki.

“She had had all three anti-covid vaccinations, but also had several serious underlying health conditions.”

“It is tragic, but not unexpected that we might lose someone to covid.

“I, together with Te Marae Ora [Ministry of Health], am sending our condolences to the family who have just lost a loved one, our thoughts and prayers are with them at this time and the people of Aitutaki.”

4727 total cases
Rarotonga reported 73 new cases of covid-19 in the 24 hours to this morning, while Aitutaki reported 43 cases.

The Cook Islands has had a total of 4727 cases, 3990 of whom have recovered.

The islands had their first case of covid-19 detected only in February, far later than much of the world.

The Cook Islands News reports that Health Secretary Bob Williams warned: “While most cases can be treated at home if matters deteriorate, people should not hesitate to seek medical attention.

“Earlier intervention might have prevented this tragedy.

“This is a very serious illness which has claimed many millions of lives around the world. covid-19 can be a deadly disease — particularly for elderly people, and those with underlying pre-existing health issues.

“I want to reinforce our plea to people to take the precautions we’ve been talking about for the last two years.

“Sanitise, wear a mask and get tested or to quickly alert the covid-19 response teams on each island should you develop symptoms.”

In New Zealand, the Ministry of Health today reported 5562 new community cases of covid-19 — the lowest in two months — with nine further deaths, taking the total to 674.

This article is republished under a community partnership agreement with RNZ.

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