Coronavirus: Ghent calls for probe into death of 12-year-old girl

Coronavirus: Ghent calls for probe into death of 12-year-old girl
An emergency call by the family was incomprehensible to operators, a federal police spokesperson said. © Belga

The city of Ghent has requested an investigation into the handling of a call for emergency assistance for the 12-year-old girl who died of coronavirus on Monday.

On Tuesday, health officials said that a 12-year-old girl in Ghent had died after contracting the new coronavirus (Covid-19).

Announcing her death in a daily press conference, government virologist said the girl had had a fever for three days before her condition suddenly worsened.

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A call by the family to the emergency services was not “at all” understandable, according to a federal police spokesperson.

“We tried to find out why urgent police assistance was needed, the person broke off the call,” spokesperson Sarah Frederickx, told HLN, adding that they sent a police patrol to the site of the call.

The girl, an unidentified Ghent resident, was ultimately taken to the hospital by a neighbour and is so far the youngest patient to succumb to the coronavirus reported in Europe.

“Police officers were on the scene in less than half an hour and upon arrival only a woman was still at home,” Frederickx said.

The emergency call centre did not send over an ambulance to the girl’s home “because [they] received an urgent call for police assistance,” Frederickx said.

“From the conversation, we were unable to understand why police or an ambulance was needed and therefore we sent police patrol on the spot,” she added.

Ghent mayor Mathias De Clercq requested police oversight body Committee P to investigate the way in which the emergency central processed the call.

“Committee P is the most appropriate body for this and will ensure that [the inquiry] is conducted in all serenity for the benefit of all parties involved,” De Clerq said. “It is important that all parties are heard in this case.”

Gabriela Galindo
The Brussels Times

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