Man in 70s dies at home in Invercargill

A man in his 70s has died in his home in Invercargill in what is believed to be a coronavirus-related death.

Emergency services were called to a house in the suburb of Kingswell, in Invercargill, last night.

Two ambulances, several police cars and at least one fire truck were seen at the property around 8.30pm, neighbours say.

A St John spokesman said they could not comment on the incident and referred media inquiries to Police and the Ministry of Health.

In the Government's Covid-19 update on Wednesday, Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield said he was aware of the death but he could not confirm if it was connected to Covid-19. The ministry was looking into it.

A neighbour, who asked not to be named, told the New Zealand Herald he was watching TV when he first noticed something was happening outside on the street.

He saw ambulance vehicles and a fire brigade before at least three police cars arrived at the scene shortly afterwards, he said.

The resident said he had worried for his neighbours at the house - an elderly couple who had lived there for at least 20 years, he said.

"I noticed vehicles up the driveway and I looked up - it was their daughter and granddaughter.

"They had to stand back and the police were talking to them."

He was surprised the family members were not going into the house and it looked as if police officers were keeping them away from the property, he said.

"The daughter had her head down. They did not move from that spot.

"The police would not let them up any further and that was roughly about 10 o'clock."

The man said he could not get to sleep after seeing what was happening and stayed awake into the early hours.

"Just before midnight, they took a stretcher inside the house and took someone out - and then a hearse arrived. It was a hell of a shock."

Police said they were called to the house about 8.45pm after a report of a sudden death.

A spokesman would not confirm whether or not the death was related to Covid-19; only that it was not being treated as suspicious.

The neighbour who spoke to the Herald said he had last seen the man either on Friday or Saturday outside their home.

On Sunday, the man's wife was seen cutting the lawns, he said.

The resident described the couple - who lived alone with their dog - as "very lovely" people who were well-known within the community.

"They are just good, genuine Kiwis."

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