A 54-year-old police officer has become the latest victim of COVID-19, which also claimed the life of another member of his family. 

PC Joseph Muscat is the 71st victim of the virus since it first hit Malta's shores in March. 

His death was announced on Thursday, hours after another man, aged 75, also died.

According to Muscat's nephew, Nicky Parnis, his uncle, who had diabetes, was the second person in the family to die with the virus. 

An aunt also succumbed to COVID-19. His death has caused shock in the police community and among friends and family in Birkirkara.

In a statement on Thursday, the health authorities said he was admitted to hospital on October 25 and tested positive to the virus on the same day. He is the second-youngest victim of COVID-19. 

The authorities said he suffered from other chronic illnesses and died at the Intensive Therapy Unit on Thursday. 

In a separate statement, the authorities said that a 75-year-old man died of COVID-19 late on Wednesday.

The man was admitted to Mater Dei Hospital on Tuesday and tested positive the following day. He died later that same day. The authorities said he suffered from other chronic conditions.

Another four men died of the virus on Wednesday, the highest number in a single day. A total of 70 deaths have been linked to COVID-19 since the outbreak started in March

The ministry expressed its condolences and urged everyone to follow directives to control the virus spread.  

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