The Ministry of Health is very sad to report the second COVID-19 related death in as many days.
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.
Dr Williams, who was in his 80s, was also a widely regarded member of health services in both New Zealand and the Cook Islands. He was patron of the Pasifika Medical Association.
Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield described him as a well-known politician, physician and published author.
“Dr Williams was seen as a leading figure in the Cook Islands medical community and he will be sadly missed.”
Dr Williams was admitted to Auckland City Hospital on 13 August and passed away yesterday evening.
“Our thoughts are with his family and community at this time of loss and grief.
“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.”
This means the number of COVID-19 related deaths in New Zealand is now 24.
The Ministry’s usual update on cases will be provided at 1pm.