Family appeals for dignified funeral

The majority of the man's family currently stay in the north, with only his sisters living in Walvis Bay.

13 July 2020 | Health

LEANDREA LOUW

WALVIS BAY



The family of the man who was announced as the country's first Covid-19 death last week, say they want a dignified burial for him.

According to health minister Kalumbi Shangula, the 45-year-old man visited the Walvis Bay State Hospital on 5 July with complaints of dizziness, breathing difficulty and coughing.

“The deceased was previously seen at a healthcare facility on 2 July. He is known to have schizophrenia, was doing well on treatment and had no recent episode of psychosis. On admission to the hospital, his vital signs were suboptimal,” the minister said during a Covid19 briefing this past Friday.

According to Shangula, the patient was admitted to a transition ward on 5 July, where he received treatment with a diagnosis of pneumonia.

“The patient's condition deteriorated on 6 July and he complained of respiratory ailments. He also showed signs of severe renal failure and sepsis. His condition worsened on 8 July and he became restless, started hyperventilating and died on the same day.”

The minister said two days later (on 10 July) test results indicated that the patient was Covid-19 positive.



State burial

Simon Haufiku, who spoke on behalf of the man's family, said they have given permission for the state to go ahead with his funeral.

“We understand the severity of the virus, and we are not expecting people to travel to the north or to Walvis Bay to mourn him.

“We just want him to receive a dignified funeral,” he said.

The majority of the man's family currently stay in the north, with only his sisters living in Walvis Bay.

Erongo health director Anna Jonas said the man was placed in a ward as a suspected Covid-19 case.

Neither the health director nor the minister have answered questions on whether the man was only tested after his death, and whether hospital staff who assisted him were placed in quarantine.

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