Maldives confirms first COVID-19 related death

The Health Protection Agency (HPA) has announced the first COVID-19 related death in the Maldives.

According to authorities, 83 year old Aminath Adam passed away at 7:10 pm on Wednesday. She was pronounced dead at state-run Indira Gandhi Memorial Hospital (IGMH) after she was brought to the hospital with breathing difficulties. She had already passed away by the time she was brought to the hospital.

Speaking at an emergency press conference held early Thursday morning by the National Emergency Operations Centre (NEOC), Health Minister Abdulla Ameen said the deceased was a direct contact of positive case 126. Several others from her family had earlier tested positive for the virus. Her sample was taken on April 27, and her positive result came shortly after her death.

The deceased has now been buried. Her funeral processions were conducted by a team of female MNDF officers who underwent training on how to handle funeral procedures of COVID-19 patients.

According to the Islamic Ministry, the bodies of the deceased will be purified through 'Tayammum' instead of being washed with water, in order to respect and fulfill the religious rites of the deceased. Tayammum is the Islamic act of dry ritual purification using purified sand or dust. Islam prohibits the bodies of the deceased from being cremated.

A special guideline has been established on how to carry out funeral services, paying last respects to the deceased and the 'Janaza' prayers of deceased COVID-19 patients.

The total number of positive cases in the Maldives is now 280.