Steady dip in funerals of COVID patients in Delhi’s crematoriums

A man wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) stands next to a burning funeral pyre of a relative, at a crematorium in New Delhi on Wednesday, May 5, 2021.   | Photo Credit: Reutrs

The number of funerals of COVID-19 patients across Delhi’s crematoriums and burial grounds has been dipping consistently, especially compared to the peak in late April, when over 700 last rites were performed for three consecutive days.

According to data recorded by the three municipal corporations of Delhi, 6,609 people, who lost their lives to COVID-19, were laid to rest at 29 funeral venues spread across the 11 municipal zones in the city between April 25 and May 4. More than 27 funerals were performed every hour over the ten-day period.

The Delhi government, however, registered 3,854 COVID deaths during the same interval with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which runs the city’s civic bodies, accusing it of “hiding the real number” of deaths “as usual”.

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It also attributed the reduction in the number of last rites in Delhi to people passing away at medical establishments in the National Capital Region (NCR) after being “forced” to seek admission in them, given the paucity of hospital beds in the city.

Civic body records show that 666 funerals were performed on April 25, compared to 553 on May 4, registering a decline of around 17%. The number of last rites gradually increased – 653 were performed on April 26 and 696 on April 27 – before the beginning of the peak on April 28, when 702 were performed followed by the peak of 717 on April 29 and slight decrease to 711 on April 30.

The number of funerals has consistently decreased since then: slipping to 697 on May 1, 620 on May 2, 594 on May 3 and to 553 till 6 p.m. on May 4, according to civic body records. The capacity dedicated to the last rites of COVID patients was increased by over 43% during this time – from 773 to 1,113 – and it continues to be ramped up.

“Hospitals across the NCR are full of seriously ill COVID patients from Delhi who have not been able to find hospital beds in the city and willing to spend any amount to save the life of their loved ones. They are referred to the closest funeral facility in those cities where the last rites are performed,” said a senior Delhi BJP leader.

“We have come across innumerable cases of requests of help from Delhi’s people in getting the death certificates of their kin issued from the State governments of Uttar Pradesh and Haryana. The party will compile these numbers and make them public soon,” the leader also said.

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Printable version | Jun 23, 2021 5:57:54 AM |

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