COVID-19 victim cremated after initial refusal

We had to seek permission from North Delhi Municipal Corporation: authorities

March 15, 2020 01:28 am | Updated 01:28 am IST - New Delhi

The body of a 68-year-old woman from Delhi, who succumbed to COVID-19, was cremated at Nigambhod Ghat on Saturday after initially being denied permission by the crematorium, said her family.

“We reached the crematorium by 10.30 a.m., but the authorities refused to cremate the body. They said they did not have any guidelines from the Health Department about coronavirus victims. We refused to go back and had to wait for about two-and-a-half hours for the cremation,” said Sanjeev Arora, the deceased’s relative.

“There was some confusion initially and the body was later cremated at the CNG crematorium,” said Ashok Rawat, a North Delhi Municipal Corporation health officer.

The family said that the government should have made better arrangements. “The government knew about the death. We had come to the crematorium in an RML Hospital ambulance and had to wait for hours,” Mr. Arora said.

Suman Gupta, the coordinator of an NGO, which runs the crematorium, said that the delay was because they had to seek permission from the north civic body. “This was a special case and we had to seek permission. As soon as we were granted the permission, we made arrangements for the cremation,” he said.

‘Safety gears’

Mr. Rawat said that the “initial confusion” was because it is a “new disease”. “The confusion was cleared and safety precautions were also taken. Two persons from the crematorium who helped the hospital staff in the cremation were also provided headgears, goggles, gloves, and shoes,” he said.

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