A 53-year-old heart surgeon and university lecturer has died at Mater Dei Hospital after being diagnosed with COVID-19 four days ago.

Aaron Casha is the youngest coronavirus victim in Malta and the sixth person to die. The Health Ministry said he suffered serious underlying health issues.

One of his colleagues, Joseph Grima, said Malta had lost a brilliant surgeon and a top academic.

The announcement of his death came a day after the medical authorities celebrated the progress made by a 72-year-old man who was sent home on Tuesday after six weeks in hospital, including a lengthy period in intensive care.

The first COVID-19 case in Malta was reported on March 7. Up to Tuesday, 506 cases had been identified and 434 patients had recovered.

Malta registered its first coronavirus death on April 8, when a 92-year-old woman became the first virus casualty.

A second patient, a 79-year-old man, died the next day. An 84-year-old man became the third casualty on April 11.

A 96-year-old woman became the fourth victim on April 25 and an 81-year-old who died on May 5 was the country's fifth victim. 

The Health Ministry offered its condolences.

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