COVID-19: Armindo’s death raises controversy between Xanana and the Government

COVID-19: Armindo’s death raises controversy between Xanana and the Government

Charismatic Leader, Kay Rala Xanana Gusmão, arriving at the Vera Cruz Isolation Center (Image Tatoli/Egas Cristovao)

DILI, 12 april, 2021 (TATOLI) – A 46-year-old, Armindo Borges death has raised a different ideas between the families and the Ministry of health, as he was confirmed died from covid-19.

Following the explanation from the deceased daughter, Armindo Borges was diagnosed with a hemorrhagic stroke and he had been at home for some time due to his specific illness.

But as the family brought him to the hospital, the hospital informed the family that Mr. Borges was positive to covid-19, and he was registered to die from covid-19.

Former President and the Charismatic Leader Xanana Gusmão (Image Tatoli/Egas Cristovao)

Concerning his death, the Former President and the Charismatic Leader of Timor-Leste, Xanana Gusmão has also intervened to get all the ideas straight.

Gusmão decided to step on the issue as, the deceased daughter crying out over the death of his father who is said to have died from covid.

During the interview with Tatoli, Mr. Gusmão said that he involved in the protest against covid-19 in Timor-Leste, stressing that he does not accept the procedure of health professionals for this case.

Gusmão does not believe that the late Armindo Borges was infected with covid-19, as he had been at home for some time due to his specific illness.

“We believe that the protocol is wrong. Covid-19 is a communicable disease and different from dengue. The patient was at home, how do they say he is infected with covid-19?” Xanana said.

Xanana also explained that the statement from the deceased family, that, Armindo start to have bleeding from his mouth and nose, having been transported to the hospital, where he was diagnosed with a hemorrhagic stroke.

“It is the hospital’s protocol to carry out the covid-19 test on those who are sick to avoid contagion. I respect this measure, but I do not accept that the patient is died due to the virus”, he said.

Gusmão declares that the family intends to transport the corpse to his homeland and not to the cemetery reserved for victims of the covid-19, considering that his death was not caused by the virus. 

At the same time, The Minister of Health, Odete Belo, asked the charismatic leader Kay Rala Xanana Gusmão to believe in the protocol followed by the health authorities regarding the death of 46-year-old Armindo Borges who was detected Infection due to Covid-19.

Belo also explained the covid-19 transmission cycle to convince Xanana Gusmão, as Gusmão was sitting at the gate of the Vera Cruz isolation center, demanding the transport of Armindo Borges’s body to his Municipality of Ainaro.

Belo also pointed out that two members of the deceased’s family are infected with covid-19, having been transferred to isolation to avoid contagion.

“We work honestly and followed the health protocol,” She said.

However, the President of the National Parliament was also concerned with the presence of Gusmão’s at the Vera Cruz Isolation Center and said, as a statesman leader you can make a critic but do not prevent the health professional, the state, and the government to do their works. And this is not an example to combat the virus,” Guterres said. 

Guterres considers this event is not the attitude of a statesman and considers this case is not an issue of science and not rationalism, because the test is scientific in the laboratory which stated that the patient is positive. 

He added that, according to the rule, a patient who died from covid-19 must be buried following the health protocol. 

“As a leader and as the President of the Parliament, I do not agree with this attitude, and this attitude will not be appreciated by everyone. If there is anything wrong you can make a critic not to stop the people in the field of work,” he said. 

A group of young Timorese, who support solidarity to Xanana Gusmao (Image Tatoli/Egas Cristovao)

Following the observation from TATOLI, more than 200 young Timorese are standing in support of solidarity with Xanana Gusmão.

The group Representative,Clementino Talibere stated that the presence of the group is aimed at giving solidarity to Xanana Gusmão and saying that Timor-Leste does not have the covid-19.

“We are volunteers, it is not an organized group, we do not intend to do anything against the State, but to show our solidarity to our Leader Gusmão and also to show that Timor-Leste does not have the covid-19,” Clementino told Tatoli. 

Xanana Gusmão has spent his whole day waiting at the Vera Cruz Isolation Center, from 8:00 am to 18:23, and hasn’t left the isolation center.

Xanana and Klamar Fuik at Vera Cruz Isolation Center (Image Tatoli/Egas Cristovao)

At around 17:05, Klamar Fuik, arrived in Vera Cruz to meet with Xanana Gusmão to find a solution.

“What is the science that convinces me? We people have less understanding,” Xanana said.

Xanana added that he has been visiting every municipality with the purpose to help the Government. 

“I pay the visit to every municipality to help the government, but for this time, i can’t.” he said.

Until today Tuesday (13/04), The National Police maintain the security tight in the perimeter of the Vera Cruz Health Center.

Key Consideration from WHO

Key Consideration from  The World Health Organisation (WHO) COVID-19-IPC, (Infection Prevention and Control for the safe management of a dead body in the context of COVID-19) that:

  • The dignity of the dead, their cultural and religious traditions, and their families should be respected and protected throughout;
    • Hasty disposal of a dead from COVID-19 should be avoided;
    • Authorities should manage each situation on a case-by-case basis, balancing the rights of the family, the need to investigate the cause of death, and the risks of exposure to infection.



Journalist: Evaristo Soares Martins, Felicidade Ximenes, Zezito Silva

Editor: Cancio Ximenes , Cipriano Colo.


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