BAMAKO, March 28 (Xinhua) -- Malian Ministry of Health and Social Affairs on Saturday confirmed the country's first COVID-19 related death.
According to the ministry, a patient tested positive for COVID-19 after passing away Saturday in Bamako.
The deceased, with a history of diabetes and hypertension, is the first death related to COVID-19 in Mali and brings the country's total number of confirmed cases to 19.
The ministry announced earlier in the day that seven suspected patients have tested positive for COVID-19.
However, the Malian government decided to maintain the legislative elections set for Sunday, by inviting "all voters to strict compliance with the measures to prevent and combat the coronavirus."
He said hand washing kits or hand sanitizers will be available at the entrance of each polling station.
The government invited voters to avoid regrouping inside and outside polling stations, respect a distance of at least 1 meter between them in the queues, respect sanitary barrier measures, avoid handshakes, avoid braces and wash hands before and after voting.
"Voting is a right. Protecting yourself and others against coronavirus is a duty," said the Malian government.
Malian President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita declared a state of health emergency in the country on Wednesday evening and instituted a curfew from March 26.
In his message to the nation, President Keita also said "Mali's land borders will be closed, except for freight and the transport of goods, in particular basic necessities."