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Cook Islands records first Covid-19 death

WELLINGTON (AFP) - The tiny South Pacific nation of the Cook Islands reported its first coronavirus-related death on Sunday (April 24), more than two years after the pandemic erupted.

A 63-year-old woman, who had underlying health conditions, died on her way to hospital on the island of Aitutaki late on Saturday.

"It is with great sadness that I announce that we have just recorded our first in-country death attributed to Covid-19," Prime Minister Mark Brown said in a statement on Sunday.

"She had had all three anti-Covid vaccinations, but also had several serious underlying health conditions."

The island nation had been remarkably free from Covid-19 until an outbreak of the Omicron variant emerged after it reopened its border to travellers from New Zealand early this year.

"It is tragic, but not unexpected that we might lose someone to Covid," Mr Brown said.

The Cook Islands Health Ministry said it has so far recorded 4,727 cases of Covid-19, of which 735 were active as of Sunday morning.

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