Minister of Health Abdulla Ameen, at an emergency conference held during early hours of Thursday, confirmed that the first death in Maldives caused by COVID-19, amid the global pandemic.
Speaking at a virtually-held press conference hosted by National Emergency Operations Centre (NEOC), the minister revealed that the 83-year-old Maldivian woman passed away Wednesday evening.
At the earlier held daily NEOC press conference, Under-Secretary at the President's Office Mabrouq Abdul Azeez revealed that a sample taken from an individual that passed away earlier in the day, was sent to test for COVID-19, but at the time he stated that results were not in.
The person in question was flagged during the contact tracing process of a female found positive for COVID-1 (case MAV126) and her residence was placed under monitoring.
Minister Ameen also noted that the sample was obtained from the woman on Tuesday morning, while the results were obtained after she had passed away.
The patient was first taken to the hospital after having experienced a shortness of breath, stated the minister.
With the sample now confirmed to be positive, this marks the first death in Maldives caused by the local community spread of COVID-19 virus.
Burial rituals were carried out by female officers from the Maldives National Defense Force clad in Personal protective equipment (PPE), specially trained for such a situation.
Contact tracing is reported to be ongoing and authorities stated that further details pertaining to the fatality would be given during the next press conference.
Dr Ali Latheef, a doctor at Indira Gandhi Memorial Hospital (IGMH) and member of the COVID-19 Technical Advisory Group (TAG), stated that currently, there are five patients, four locals and one expatriate, receiving treatment in the intensive care unit of Dharumavantha Hospital.
Expanding on details about the patients who are currently admitted, Dr Moosa Murad, also IGMH physician and member of the COVID-19 Technical Advisory Group (TAG), stated that three of the patients in ICU were presenting various other complications.
Dr Moosa stated that, thus far, there were no patients placed on ventilators although three were being given oxygen support.
He elaborated that an 83-year-old patient was given oxygen support on Wednesday after his condition slightly deteriorated, while a 70-year-old patient was newly shifted to ICU over experiencing increased difficulties.
Meanwhile, samples were also previously collected to test for the novel coronavirus, from two individuals that passed away in the Thinadhoo Island in Gaafu Dhaal Atoll. Mabrouq revealed that one of the individuals was admitted with Severe Acute Respiratory Infection (SARI).
Presently, Maldives records 280 confirmed, 262 active cases of COVID-19, with a total of 17 recoveries and one death.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has classified the spread of COVID-19 as a global pandemic. The new strain of novel coronavirus has infected over 3 million people and claimed over 226,893 lives around the world. However, out of those infected, more than 992,959 people have recovered.