A 69-year-old woman had died of Wuhan Coronavirus infection in a private hospital of Punjab’s Ludhiana. As per a report in the New Indian Express, her family refused to take the body and cremate due to fear of infection.
Despite the repeated assurance by authorities to give him enough protective gear that will shield him against the infection, her son refused to perform the last rites of his mother, asserted Additional Deputy Commissioner(General), Iqbal Singh Sandhu.
The elderly woman who was a resident of Shimlapuri village was admitted to a private hospital in Ludhiana on 31 March and had later succumbed to the disease on Sunday, 5 April.
Sandhu said, “It was a big shock for everybody when relatives including, son of the deceased, did not come to claim her body. The body was later claimed by the district administration. The authorities approached the family twice, but they refused to claim the body.”
As per reports, the son of the deceased woman was assured by the authorities to be provided with requisite protective gear for cremation but they still refused to perform her last rites.
Eventually, the District administration had claimed the body of the woman and performed the last rites while the son and her other family members watched the process from over a 100-metre distance.
On 17 March 2020, the Government of India had released an advisory for dead body management of COVID-19 patients. The guidelines that were issued said that friends and family of the deceased can see the body but must avoid touching. Personal Protective Equipment is also to be used to avoid contact with the body. The religious rituals such as reading from holy books or scriptures, sprinkling holy water and other last rites that do not require touching of the body can be done. However, bathing, kissing and hugging of the dead body will be prohibited. The family of the deceased will have to be on guard while cremation.
Earlier, the BrihanMumbai Municipal corporation also issued a circular that those who die of Wuhan Coronavirus infection will have to be cremated irrespective of religion as the burying may spread infection. The Civic body withdrew the declaration later due to the intervention of Maharashtra Minority Development Minister Nawab Malik.