Kerala's first COVID-19 victim buried as per protocol, with only five relatives in attendance

The man, who had returned from Dubai, died at the Government Medical College Hospital, in Ernakulam on Saturday morning, becoming Kerala's first COVID-19 fatality.

Published: 28th March 2020 09:45 PM  |   Last Updated: 28th March 2020 10:12 PM   |  A+A-

Nurse Simi M and doctor Aseefa C K pushing a stretcher into the > isolation ward in the District Hospital in Kanhangad on Wednesday.

Doctors pushing a stretcher into the an isolation ward in Kerala. (File Photo | EPS)


KOCHI: The body of a 69-year-old man who died due to novel coronavirus infection was buried here on Saturday in a simple ceremony attended by only five relatives and monitored by officials after it was brought wrapped in leak-proof bag as per the Union Health Ministry guidelines.

The body was brought to the khabarsthan of a masjid near Mattancherry secured in a triple-layer body bag, the exterior of which is decontaminated, to ensure it posed no risk to others while being transported in an ambulance.

The man, who had returned from Dubai, died at the Government Medical College Hospital, in Ernakulam on Saturday morning, becoming Kerala's first COVID-19 fatality.

Five relatives, five volunteers and five officials of the district administration, health department and Kochi city corporation were present for the burial, officials said.

Relatives said final prayers for the departed soul before the body was laid to rest at 3 pm. They were not allowed to touch the body. Officials said the large gathering was not allowed at the burial ground as a social distancing measure.

Volunteers, who handled the burial, followed standard precautions, wearing masks and gloves they said.

The burial ground staff, who were sensitized that COVID-19 would not pose any risk, had dug a special 10-feet deep pit in an identified spot in the khabarsthan before the body was brought for burial.

Earlier, Kerala Health Minister K K Shailaja said certain protocols had to be followed by the family of the deceased.

His wife and daughter were allowed to see the body through a video call with the hospital before it was wrapped for the funeral.

The man, hailing from Chullikkal in Ernakulam, was admitted to the isolation ward on March 22 after his return from Dubai.

He was admitted with symptoms of pneumonia but later tested positive for coronavirus.

He was also suffering from heart disease and high blood pressure and had undergone a bypass surgery earlier.

His wife and the taxi driver who ferried him from the airport to his home from the airport on March 16, have tested positive for COVID-19 and were now being treated at the isolation facility at the hospital, officials said.

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