LUCKNOW: Call it the scare of deadly coronavirus or stigma attached with the disease, the relatives of a 60-year-old COVID-19 victim kept them away from claiming his body in Gautam Budh Nagar on Tuesday. When repeated requests of his wife to her relatives for his last rites went unheard, she turned to the district authorities for help. His wife is also inflicted with the virus and is convalescing at the same hospital.
Paying heed to the plea of the deceased's wife, Noida district magistrate himself received the body of the deceased from the hospital and performed the last rites himself.
The deceased, who was a resident of Sector-19 of Noida, had tested positive for coronavirus and was admitted to Sharda Hospital on May 8. He suffered a major cardiac arrest owing to severe respiratory syndrome at night on May 9 and lost the battle to the pandemic.
His 59-year-old wife had also tested positive the same day and admitted to the same isolation ward. Their daughter was in Gujarat at the time and could not attend to her parents due to the lockdown.
As per sources, the officials concerned approached the relatives of the man asking them to receive the body but no one came forward. Finally, the wife of the deceased urged the district magistrate to perform his last rites. Even the daughter of the infected couple called Noida DM Suhas LY and requested him to get her father’s last rites done by the authorities as her relatives were reluctant to receive the body.
As a result, District Magistrate Suhas LY, along with health officials and Sharda Hospital authorities, performed the last rites of the man at the electronic crematorium in Sector 94.
Dr Ajit Kumar, joint registrar and media spokesperson, Sharda University, Greater Noida, told reporters that since people were scared of receiving the bodies of COVID-19 patients, the district and health officials had to fulfil that responsibility and they even made the wife and daughter of the deceased witness his last rites through a video call.
Last week, the district administration had announced the protocol to be followed while disposing of bodies of COVID-19 patients. This included covering the body with a bag and absolutely no physical contact with relatives. They were, however, allowed to perform the last rites, and even glimpse the face, provided
all social distancing norms were accepted. These are as per the protocols devised by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), the nodal agency in India for the disease.
Meanwhile, the wife of the deceased was shifted to another isolation ward as she had suffered a loss that would need special care. The district has so far suffered three deaths in total, while the cases rose to 235 with seven fresh cases till Tuesday.