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10-hour delay in cremation of Bengal’s 1st Covid-19 fatality; kins refuse body

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Kolkata, Mar 24: The first death of a COVID-19 patient in West Bengal on Monday afternoon raised serious questions about the handling of the dead body after none from the his family came at the hospital to complete the hospital formaalities for releasing death certificate and discharge of body.

Reporetedly, the locals at the cremation ground also refused the entry of the body in the area and it was finally cremated in an electric crematorium after a 10-hour delay on Monday night.

10-hour delay in cremation of Bengal’s 1st Covid-19 fatality; kins refuse body

The state government had already instructed the hospital authority to supervise the cremation of body following the WHO guidelines without handing it over to the family.

However, signature of one family member was required to fulfill the official formalities.

The relatives of the 57-year-old deceased also refused to come to AMRI Hospital in the fear of getting infected with the virus.

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Deceased's wife could not be present there as she is currently admitted in the isolation ward of MR Bangur Hospital in Kolkata.

The man succumbed to an infection at AMRI Hospital in Salt Lake.

The deceased had no recent international travel history and yet tested positive for the coronavirus, making him the fourth confirmed case in the state on March 20, 2020.

The hospital followed protocols and handed over the body to the state administration, which took it to the Nimtala Cremation Ghat in North Kolkata.

However panicked locals and staff at the cremation ground refused the body to enter the area, fearing the virus would spread in the locality.

People also targeted media vehicles and journalists were heckled by a mob.

Rupak Barua, Chief Executive Officer, AMRI Hospitals said, "We informed the deceased's distant relative but he refused to come. Then we informed the health department about the problems we faced while releasing the body. Later, his wife's signature was taken from MR Bangur Hospital where she is admitted."

The body was finally sent inside the cremation ground around 9 pm, nearly six hours after the death.

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There was more ordeal left for the family of the COVID19 deceased, the local residents at Dumdum threatened that they would not allow the family members, who are in isolation wards of the deceased man to live in the locality even after their release from the hospital.

Reportedly, the 57-year old deceased was a resident of Dumdum in North 24 Parganas district and was admitted to a private hospital with fever and dry cough. His symptoms intensified on March 19 and after two days his report came positive.

To reconfirm the infection, the hospital once again had sent his swab for testing but the second report also came positive. He was admitted in the ICU of the hospital and died at around 3.35 pm due to multiple organ failure.

All his family members, who came in contact with him in the last one week, were also been kept in isolation.

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