Coronavirus: Kiwi man died of COVID-19 in Peru while waiting for mercy flight

A Kiwi man has died of COVID-19 while awaiting a mercy flight out of Peru.

Edward Spencer Storey was supposed to be on the Government's rescue flight out of Cusco last week but never made it. 

The 49-year-old died alone in a temporary apartment and tested positive for COVID-19 after his death.

He had been trekking the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu when the Peruvian government announced a nationwide lockdown in mid-March.

His mother Delysse Storey told NZME her son was forced to bribe police so he could get to the small tourist town of Cusco where he was awaiting the mercy flight back to New Zealand.  

His last contact with his family was April 7, the day after the Government announced it would charter a flight from Lima.  

He registered for the flight but never got on. After he failed to turn up his worried family contacted Interpol to do a welfare check.

On 17 April Storey was found dead in his flat by Peruvian authorities. 

The exact date of his death can't be confirmed but his mother believes it was on April 13, the day after Easter Sunday.

She says he was an "incredible" person.

"He was an incredible humanitarian," she told NZME.

"He was a wonderful, caring, amazing, humble man. He didn't have a partner or his children but he was a wonderful brother and all those things."

His body will be cremated and his remains will be returned to his family in New Zealand, reports NZME.

Education Minister Chris Hipkins confirmed the man had died, saying it was his understanding a New Zealander had passed away in Peru.

"I understand the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade are supporting that family and they have asked for privacy at this time," said Hipkins on Tuesday.

According to the Johns Hopkins University data there have been 16,325 cases in Peru so far and 445 deaths.