NEWS

66-Year-Old Man Is Fiji’s First COVID-19 Related Death

Despite the best efforts of medical professionals, Minister for Health and Medical Services Dr Ifereimi Waqainabete said the patient died due to complications from COVID-19.
01 Aug 2020 11:44
66-Year-Old Man Is Fiji’s First COVID-19 Related Death
Minister for Health and Medical Services Dr Ifereimi Waqainabete with Acting Permanent Secretary Dr James Fong during a press conference at the Denim House in Suva on July 31, 2020.

Fiji has recorded its first COVID-19 border quarantine death.

The deceased was a 66-year-old man who returned from India. He tested positive for COVID-19 at the border. He died in isolation at the Lautoka Hospital on Thursday.

He had travelled to India with his son for treatment for a long-standing cardiac condition and returned on the repatriation flight on July 1.

Medical personnel found that he showed COVID-19 symptoms on his third day of quarantine after which he was transferred to the Nadi Hospital for isolation.

Despite the best efforts of medical professionals, Minister for Health and Medical Services Dr Ifereimi Waqainabete said the patient died due to complications from COVID-19.

“The Ministry of Health and Medical Services has extended our sincere condolences directly to the gentleman’s family, who we had remained in constant contact with him since his diagnosis,” Dr Waqainabete said.

“This is an enormous tragedy for them. I can tell you our staff at the ministry are devastated by this loss as well.”

He reassured citizens that the virus is not present in the communities, therefore it does not pose any risk of infection to the general public.

“Because we know how deadly this disease can be, we were also well-prepared for the risk of a fatality, and we’ve handled this situation in line with our infection prevention control protocols to ensure no risk to the public,” he said.

Acting Permanent Secretary Dr James Fong said there were irredeemable complications that could not be reversed and the man’s death did not represent any change in the country’s status.

“The public remains safe and we continue to be a COVID-19-contained country.”

According to Dr Waqainabete, the patient’s funeral will be handled in compliance with World Health Organisation guidelines. He also said the man’s family understands what needs to be done and is making funeral arrangements to bury him.

Out of the more than 100 passengers on the India repatriation flight, five positive cases were identified to have had significant treatment in India, including the deceased.

Edited by Jonathan Bryce

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