BUJUMBURA – Burundi President Pierre Nkurunziza died of Covid-19 the disease caused by the novel Coronavirus, medics have confirmed.
The outgoing President died on Monday, June 8 in Burundi’s capital Bujumbura, with the government announcing that he died from a heart attack.
But the UK’s Daily Mail reports on Monday that a medical source at the Karusi hospital where Mr. Nkurunziza died, has confirmed the president was in ‘respiratory distress’ before his death.
The Daily Mail also reports that medics at the Kamenge university hospital in Bujumbura told AFP that the head of the institute of public health requested their hospital’s only ventilator and the head of our reanimation service ‘in the name of the presidency’ on Monday, June 8, at 10 am’.
The president was flown to the hospital in Karusi, but it was ‘too late,’ he was ‘already dead,’ the Daily Mail quotes a medical source in Karusi as saying.
PML Daily had on June 9, exclusively reported that the Burundi leader died of Coronavirus after had tested positive for the virus currently ravaging the world some days earlier.
Mr. Nkurunziza’s wife Denise Bicumi was then admitted to Aga Khan Hospital in Nairobi, Kenya for Covid-19.
President Nkurunziza had taken a dismissive approach to the world response to the pandemic, ignoring alerts on Coronavirus and continued with open policy.
Like Tanzania, Burundi adopted a dismissive approach in her response to the Coronavirus pandemic and even went ahead to organise the country’s scheduled elections on May 20, where Mr. Nkurunziza’s successor Evariste Ndayishimiye was chosen as other neigbhours locked down.
On May 12, Burundi under President Nkurunziza announced the expulsion of the country’s top World Health Organization (WHO) representative and three other experts coordinating the coronavirus response saying the four officials were “persona non grata” after they reportedly questioned the transparency in the approach of the government.
Those expelled included Dr. Walter Kazadi Mulombo, then Burundi’s coronavirus coordinator Dr. Jean Pierre Mulunda Nkata, communicable diseases head, Dr. Ruhana Mirindi Bisimwa, and a laboratory expert in the testing for COVID-19, Prof. Daniel Tarzy.
The dismissive response has since proved counterproductive with the country’s outgoing President the biggest victim of tax pandemic so far.