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David Clark

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New Zealand’s health minister David Clark has resigned over criticisms in his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic. He was under pressure since the start of the government’s response to the outbreak some months ago.

“I’ve always taken a view that the team must come first … so I’ve made the call that it’s best for me to step aside.” said Clark.

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In his resignation, Clark said he got distracted from the government’s response to the pandemic. Recently, he was widely criticised for violating the lockdown rules twice. He breached strict lockdown orders by going mountain biking and second when he took his family to the beach driving 20 km from his home.

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Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern accepted his resignation and appointed education minister Chris Hipkins giving him the additional charge as health minister. He would handle the Health portfolio until the next elections.

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New Zealand has been widely praised for its handling of the crisis. So far New Zealand has recorded 1,530 coronavirus cases with 22 deaths. A total of 1,490 patients recovered, with only one patient currently in the hospital, according to the Health Ministry.