A Maltese priest has died of COVID-19, where he had worked for a long time as a missionary. 

The Carmelite Order in Bolivia, where he had been based for many years, that Valerjan Mercieca died on Saturday after falling ill with the novel coronavirus.

The Order expressed its gratitude "for the tireless missionary service that our brother gave to our beloved Bolivian lands". 

Mercieca died in hospital in Peru, where he had recently been working.

Missio Malta, the international mission agency of the Catholic Church in Malta, said Mercieca had contracted the virus in the course of his work.

The agency said he had spent his whole life working among the poor as a missionary. 

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