Health Minister: Inquiry will be made in deceased virus patient's case

Health Minister Abdulla Ameen speaking in a press conference to confirm the first fatality of COVID-19 in the Maldives on April 30, 2020. The first death from the virus was an 83-year old woman in the capital. (Photo/NEOC)

Health Minister Abdulla Ameen has stated that an inquiry would be conducted into whether there was an oversight by the National Emergency Operations Center (NEOC) in the case of the deceased virus patient.

If such an oversight existed, the Minister stated in a press conference tonight that the appropriate steps would be taken.

The patient named Aminath Adam, 83 years of age, passed away in the evening of yesterday. The deceased is a direct contact of a positive case. Samples had been collected from her for testing when she passed away after her condition deteriorated yesterday.

She was taken to the hospital in the evening of yesterday due to respiratory issues involving difficulty in breathing. Authorities confirmed that her test results had returned as positive shortly after her death.

The deceased was connected with Case 126 from the positive cases identified. Some other members of the family had also tested positive for the virus apart from Aminath. Her residence in Male’ City was also kept under quarantine measures.

“Whether there was an oversight or not would be enquired. If changes are necessary to the standard of procedure regarding the quarantine of people or collection of samples, that will also be done,”

“We will check whether such an act (of oversight) exists. We will investigate. This is a very tragic time for the family and the nation.” Said the Minister when asked if there was any oversight by the authorities regarding the deceased patient.

The Minister noted that the COVID-19 task force and every institution involved were working to conduct the operations as perfectly as possible, before adding that there were challenges posed to do so.

Speaking in the same press conference, NEOC medical officer Dr. Ali Latheef also stated that testing of high-risk individuals would be prioritized to prevent similar cases. Such patients would also be monitored more closely.

Minister Ameen also announced that two staff of IGMH were placed in isolation but stated that it was not known whether they were connected to the case or another positive case.

IGMH staffs have also been briefed on how to operate regarding such situations. He admitted that some things should be sped up but stated that this could be done slowly on a daily basis since the virus was new to every country of the world.

The testing capacity of the country has also been increased to 400 tests per day, said the Minister who noted that at the beginning the capacity had stood at just 50 per day.

The Maldives has confirmed 280 cases of the virus and just one death. 17 people have made full recoveries after being infected with the virus.