The cousin of a five-year-old girl whose death is being investigated for a possible COVID-19 link has urged the public to "stop speculating and wait for test results" like the rest of the family.
Health Minister Chris Fearne said that the girl died at Mater Dei on Saturday afternoon after developing a fever the day before. While she tested negative for COVID-19 upon her admission to hospital, a second COVID-19 test was “mildly reactive” to the virus.
He said he felt an announcement was needed in light of rumours about the death circulating on social media.
The little girl's cousin Eman Cilia urged the public to wait for the cause of death to be established.
"Please, stop making up things about my five-year-old cousin. Will you please wait for the forensic tests like us?" he asked in a heartfelt message on Facebook moments after the announcement.
"Do you not have any respect towards us as her family? Do you not know how to stop speculating?" he said.
He told Times of Malta that the family of the little girl were angered that many were rushing to unfounded conclusions.
"Instead of making up things, pray that God helps us deal with this loss," Cilia said, urging people to respect the family's privacy.
According to Fearne, the child had no known underlying health conditions and none of her family members has tested positive for the virus.
Like Cilia, Fearne appealed to the public to refrain from spreading gossip, insisting the health authorities will be "transparent" and will provide any information once it becomes available.
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