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Sharmili Mallick

Balasore: At a time when social distancing has become an urgent norm for humans amid coronavirus outbreak, it seems humanity has fallen to a new low.

In one such instance in Balasore, people allegedly refused to assist in the funeral of one Sridhar Dalai of Jamujhadi panchayat under Simulia Police limits of the district fearing COVID-19 infection.

As per reports, Dalai died while undergoing treatment for jaundice at Balasore District Headquarters Hospital(DHH) on Sunday.

Following his death, Dalai’s family members alleged that the villagers did not turn up for the last rites fearing that he might have been infected with coronavirus.

“The villagers are saying that my husband was infected with coronavirus and are not coming to help us in conducting the funeral,” alleged Dalai’s wife.

As per latest reports, Dalai’s mortal remains has not been taken for the last rites since his death last night.

Reports said, Dalai returned from West Bengal on March 30 and was taken to Simulia Community Health Centre (CHC) after he complained of ill health. The family members of Dalai said that doctors at the hospital confirmed jaundice and later he was brought to home after some treatment.

However, when Dalai’s health condition deteriorated on Sunday, his family members called upon the concerned district administrative officials.

Subsequently, some officials rushed to the village and took Dalai to Balasore DHH. Later, they informed that Dalai had died and his body was handed over to the family in the evening.

"I told the officials that I will accompany my husband to the hospital but they denied. Later, when I called to enquire his health, they informed that he died in the hospital," said Dalai's wife.

Meanwhile, a medical team reached the village and confirmed that Dalai was not infected with COVID-19.

"Our medical team examined the dead body. He was suffering from jaundice and liver failure which led to his death. However, we will organise a medical camp and the family members of Dalai and his neighbours will be examined for coronavirus tomorrow," informed Simulia CHC in-charge, Bijay Panda.

Recently on April 27, one Rabindra Nayak of Basudev Nagar in Rasulgarh area of Bhubaneswar died allegedly after being denied treatment by several private hospitals in the capital city, while his wife and daughter had to spend a night on road with the body after their landlord shunted them out.

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