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Department of health addresses follow-up news item generated in press conference | 04 April 2020

Following a press conference held on Thursday April 2, 2020 whereby the department of Health discussed the recent death of a mariner while at sea, a news item was generated presenting misleading information to members of the public.

The news segment was conducted based on a report received by the media. Upon receipt of the referenced report by management of the Health Care Agency and Public Health Authority, several discrepancies that require internal follow up were identified.

Notably, that the report distributed under the letterhead of the Health Care Agency was not completed by an employee of the agency and there was confusion on behalf of the officer in translation of some terms used in the report. This includes the incorrect use of the word wheelbarrow to refer to a stretcher. Additionally, some observations made were not supported by appropriate investigations.

However, during the aforementioned live press conference clarifications were provided to the journalists on the death of the mariner, with confirmation and emphasis that the death was not due to COVID-19.

Appropriate postmortem procedures followed in this situation were also highlighted to the media.

Investigations into the death highlighted that the last date of docking for the fishing vessel on which the mariner worked was August 2019 in Singapore. After this, no contact was made with land by the vessel or the crew.

The department of Health is satisfied that there was no public health risk as the crew were at sea for more than 6 months and there were no sick crew on the vessel.


Communique from the department of Health

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