Statement from the Permanent Secretary for Health
The individual admitted to the Lautoka Hospital Intensive Care Unit yesterday for a severe illness due to COVID-19 has sadly passed away. The gentleman had been admitted at Lautoka Hospital since April 19th, when he was admitted for a surgical procedure.
As announced in last night’s press conference, the patient was transferred to the ICU yesterday afternoon after his condition began deteriorating, and it was at this time that he was swabbed and tested positive for the virus. Unfortunately, despite the best efforts of the ICU team, he passed away just a few hours later with time of death at 6.35pm.
This is Fiji’s third reported death due to the coronavirus. And this is our first death for a person who had contracted the virus locally.
We had learned of this gentleman’s passing before the press conference last night, but we chose to delay making the official announcement to the public until his family members could be properly informed. Nobody should learn about the death of a loved one on the news or on social media if that can be avoided. We stand by the decision to allow them a window of privacy before the passing of their loved one was announced to the nation.
As this case has shown, the virus can attack anyone, and with devastating consequences. We urge the public to show concern and sympathy for all people who become infected. We also urge the public once again to get tested if there is even a small chance you may have been exposed to the virus, to cooperate fully with the contact tracing teams, and to observe the practices that will keep us all safe.