Man in his 50s dies of COVID-19 in Middlemore's intensive care

A New Zealander has died from COVID-19 for the first time since the virus re-emerged in August.

The man in his 50s died in intensive care on Friday, bringing New Zealand's total deaths to 23.

The Ministry of Health says he was able to video call his family and his wife and son had visited him, dressed in full personal protective equipment.

Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield expressed his sympathies in a statement. 

"I acknowledge the anxiety New Zealanders may be feeling about today's news, both in the wider community and also for the family and whanau grieving over this death," he said.

"Today's news 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."

There are currently five people in hospital - one in intensive care.

New Zealand has a total of 1413 confirmed cases of COVID-19.