New Zealand Friday has reported first death from COVID-19 since May 24, authorities confirmed.

According to the Health Ministry, a man in his 50s, who was part of Auckland cluster, died at Middlemore Hospital. With the new fatality, the country death tally rose to 23.

“The man was a confirmed case of COVID-19,” the ministry in a statement, adding he had been admitted to the hospital from quarantine and was receiving treatment in the intensive care unit.

“I acknowledge the anxiety New Zealanders may be feeling about today’s news, both in the wider community and also for the family and whanau [extended family] grieving over this death,” Director General of Health Ashley Bloomfield said.

“We have always recognised that further deaths linked to COVID-19 were possible,” he added. Bloomfield assured that the health system has done and will continue to do everything to contain the virus.

“Today’s news reinforces the importance of our shared vigilance against COVID-19, the very serious consequences the virus can carry with it, and the measures we all need to take to stop the spread, break any chain of transmission and prevent deaths,” he said.

New Zealand reported its last death from coronavirus on May 24.

Over the past 24 hours, the country also reported five new infections, including two imported cases from India, bringing the tally to 1,764, while 1,630 patients have recovered, according to the Health Ministry.

On June 9, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced that the country no longer had active cases of COVID-19.

However on Aug. 11, New Zealand reported four fresh cases from Auckland which surfaced after 102 days of no infections.

*Writing by Islamuddin Sajid

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