And then there were five. The Cook Islands has reported its first COVID fatality, almost two-and-a-half-years after coronavirus was first detected by scientists. The Pacific nation broke the news earlier on Sunday.
First COVID deaths reported on Cook Islands
Prime Minister Mark Brown confirmed that the woman who passed on had ‘several serious underlying health conditions’. He noted the tragedy of the death, but with hundreds of active cases now on the islands, Brown admitted the news ‘was not unexpected’.
“It is with great sadness that I announce that we have just recorded our first in-country death attributed to COVID-19. She had had all three anti-Covid vaccinations, but also had several serious underlying health conditions. It is tragic, but not unexpected.”
Cook Islands ‘coping’ with virus surge
As AFP report, the Cook Islands Health Ministry said it has so far recorded 4,727 cases of COVID, of which 735 were active as of Sunday morning. A 63-year-old woman, who had underlying health conditions, died on her way to hospital on the island of Aitutaki late Saturday.
The island nation had been remarkably free from COVID until an outbreak of the Omicron variant emerged after it reopened its border to travellers from New Zealand early this year. A full vaccination programme – including the option for a third jab – remains in full swing.
Which countries have reported no COVID deaths so far?
The sad news means that the club of countries with no COVID deaths to report has just become even more exclusive. Only a handful of pacific nations and one South Asian state are now free of fatalities – largely thanks to their remote locations and low demand for visitors.
The islands of St. Helena and The Falklands have also yet to record a virus fatality. But, as subjects of British rule, they don’t qualify as ‘independent nations’. The Vatican City, with a death count as zero, also missed out due to a technical classification.
Nonetheless, all three COVID record remains admirable. Here are the only ‘fatality free’ countries left…
- Federated States of Micronesia
- Marshall Islands