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Ramakanta Biswas

Bhubaneswar: Amid reports of delay in cremation of bodies due to social stigma and fear of Covid-19 contamination, Odisha government on Monday issued fresh guidelines for the disposal of bodies.

PK Mohapatra, additional chief secretary to the State Health and Family Welfare Department, in a letter stated that bodies of Covid-19 suspects should be cremated as per Covid norms without insisting on testing of swab to confirm whether the deceased had Covid-19 infection or waiting for the test results.

“In few cases, persons with Covid-19 symptoms under treatment/quarantine die before their swab can be tested for Covid-19. In all such cases, the dead body may be disposed of as per Covid norms, in compassionate consultation with the family of the deceased, without insisting on testing of swab or waiting for result,” Mohapatra told in a letter to all district collectors, municipal commissioners, superintendents of medical colleges and hospitals and chief district medical and public health officers.

“This will reduce the trauma faced by the grieving family as there will be no delay in disposal of the body of the deceased after death,” Mohapatra added.

The government’s order came at a time when there are numerous instances of delay in disposal of bodies at several places in the State as people even the relatives of the deceased are reluctant to touch bodies fearing Covid-19 infections.

The Covid-19 stigma even did not spare a cop, a frontline corona warrior, in Ganjam whose body lied unattended for a day as people did not touch his body apprehending Covid-19 infections.

Assistant Sub-Inspector of Police Rabindranath Behera was suffering from cold and fever and breathed his last at Kodala hospital in Ganjam district.

The cop’s body was reportedly left unattended outside the hospital for a day as locals and medical staffs were not ready to touch the body fearing coronavirus infection. Even his family members refused to accept the body apprehending the same.

(Edited By Suryakant Jena)

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