NATION

COVID-19: Victim’s Family Still In Shock

A close friend, who did not wish to be named, said the news affected those who knew him well. The patient arrived here on Monday, March 16 on flight FJ871 from San Francisco to Nadi. He departed for Auckland on flight FJ411 and the return flight FJ410, both on Tuesday March 17.
20 Mar 2020 16:31
COVID-19: Victim’s Family Still In Shock

Friends and loved ones of a 27-year-old male Fiji Airways flight attendant are still in shock after they heard news that he is the country’s first confirmed COVID-19 case.

A close friend, who did not wish to be named, said the news affected those who knew him well. The patient arrived here on Monday, March 16 on flight FJ871 from San Francisco to Nadi. He departed for Auckland on flight FJ411 and the return flight FJ410, both on Tuesday March 17.

“He said he fell during a turbulence when he was on board one of his flights and complained of backache. He had been quarantined ever since he got into the country on March 17.”

Attempts by the family to visit him on Wednesday at the Lautoka Hospital were unsuccessful.

“When I called him, he said he received the news just today (yesterday) at around 3am and was very emotional. At the moment he can’t eat but we are hopeful for his recovery and will pray,” she said.

The patient spoke briefly about his condition to his friend: “My chest just feels a bit congested but I am okay and right now I just want people to be positive,” he said.

When the Fiji Sun team visited his home in Lautoka, his parents refused to speak. They were visibly upset about photographs and posts about their son being circulated on social media.

Human Rights and Anti-Discrimination Commission Director Ashwin Raj said: “It’s important that people show basic human decency and stop vilifying an individual in Lautoka who has been identified as the first confirmed case of COVID-19.

“Instead of vilifying and apportioning blame, all Fijians must unite in solidarity, take heed of the stringent, but proportionate measures outlined by the Prime Minister in his address to the nation and desist from engaging in acts that encourage racism, xenophobia and stigmatisation.”

A neighbour has confirmed that he saw the patient’s entire family being transported in a minibus after 12 noon yesterday.

Dr Aalisha Sahukhan, the Ministry of Health’s head of health protection, also confirmed that the patient’s entire family members who were in close contact were now in isolation.

Edited by Naisa Koroi

Feedback: salote.qalubau@fijisun.com.fj

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