Former Cook Islands prime minister dies in second fatality linked to New Zealand’s Auckland cluster

Dr. Joseph Williams Pasifika Medical Association

New Zealand has reported a second Covid-19 death linked to a cluster in Auckland.

“The Ministry can confirm that the former Prime Minister of the Cook Islands Dr Joseph Williams QSO passed away last night in Auckland City Hospital,” the country’s Ministry of Health said in a press release on Saturday.

“Dr Williams, who was in his 80s, was also a widely regarded member of health services in both New Zealand and the Cook Islands.”

The release said Williams had been admitted to hospital on August 13, and passed away Friday evening.

Two deaths in two days: Only yesterday, the country reported its first Covid-19 death in more than three months — a man in his 50s, who was linked to the Auckland cluster.

The country’s coronavirus death toll now stands at 24.

“Today’s sad news again 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,” the ministry said in Saturday’s release.



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