New Zealand's Covid-19 death rate is the second-lowest among all developed countries - beaten only by Australia.

Johns Hopkins University data shows that New Zealand's 22 deaths represent just 0.45 deaths for every 100,000 people.

The only country in the 37-nation Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) with a lower death rate is Australia, with 102 deaths or 0.41 for every 100,000 people.

The worst death rate out of 152 countries that have reported Covid deaths is the tiny Italian city-state of San Marino, where 42 out of a population of 33,925 have died from the virus - 124 for every 100,000 people.

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New Zealand's death rate is 101st out of the 152 countries and Australia's is 109th.

Director general of health Dr Ashley Bloomfield said today that New Zealand was "the envy of many countries globally".

"That's due to the hard work and sacrifice of Kiwis," he said.

Dr Ashley Bloomfield says New Zealand is
Dr Ashley Bloomfield says New Zealand is "in a position that is the envy of many countries globally". Photo / File

But he warned that the world was still "very early in the evolution of this pandemic globally". The highest number of new cases reported to the World Health Organisation in a single day was 122,917 reported on Monday this week.

He said many countries were lifting lockdowns while the pandemic was still raging.

"In Italy, which quickly became one of Europe's worst-affected countries and has also started lifting restrictions and allowing travel to and from the country, the virus has killed more than 33,000 people," he said.

"It still has more than 40,000 active cases with around 3000 new cases in the last week."

Closer to home, he said New South Wales had 13 new cases in the week to May 30, including nine returning from overseas.

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"The total number of cases in New South Wales is 3095 confirmed cases, around double our total of confirmed and probable cases," he said.

He said 1.6 per cent of all Covid victims reported in New South Wales had died, slightly below New Zealand's 1.9 per cent.

Both countries were way below Covid case fatality rates of 14.3 per cent in Italy, 14 per cent in the United Kingdom and 12.1 per cent in Spain.

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However, case fatality rates are not considered a reliable indicator globally because of low testing rates in many countries.

Death rates per 100,000 people are slightly more reliable, but many deaths may also not have been recorded as Covid-related, especially in poorer countries such as India and Bangladesh. Both gave reported Covid death rates slightly below New Zealand's.

The United States has recorded the highest absolute number of Covid deaths at 106,180, followed by the United Kingdom (39,452), Italy (33,530), Brazil (31,199), France (28,943) and Spain (27,127).

But the US death rate is only 32.45 for every 100,000 people, well below European countries such as Belgium (83.22), the UK (59.34) and Spain (58.06).

Covid death rates

Deaths per 100,000 population

1. San Marino 124.32

2. Belgium 83.22

3. Andorra 66.23

4. United Kingdom 59.34

5. Spain 58.06

6. Italy 55.48

7. Sweden 43.88

8. France 43.21

9. Netherlands 34.74

10. Ireland 34.16

11. United States 32.45

12. Switzerland 22.54

.......

101. New Zealand 0.45

102. Bangladesh 0.44

104=. India 0.43

104=. Singapore 0.43

104=. Chad 0.43

104=. Guinea-Bissau 0.43

108. Tunisia 0.42

109. Australia 0.41

.....

151=. Angola 0.01

151=. Ethiopia 0.01

Source: Johns Hopkins University. List of 152 countries does not include countries where no Covid deaths have been reported.

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