COVID deaths on steady rise, crematoriums see more arrivals

With the COVID-19 pandemic raising its hood again through the second wave of infections, number of deaths have also been on the rise.

While the government’s latest health bulletins show not more than 10 deaths per day, reports from the ground vouch that the number could be several times higher. Reliable sources informed that the death toll has reached about 20 per day at the Gandhi Hospital alone, while bodies reaching a single crematorium at ESI have risen to around 12.

Thankfully, there is no pile-up of bodies at one place, because the stigma associated with the cremation/burial of COVID-19 bodies has waned over time.

During the first wave of the pandemic last year, residents of localities around major city graveyards vehemently objected to the bodies of COVID-deceased persons being brought there for cremation/burial.

Due to this, the bodies had to be secretly sent to a single facility at ESI, where several pyres were kept ready, and bodies burnt 24x7. The government had constituted a special committee to monitor the protocol for carrying out the funerals, and hospitals, both public and private, were asked to designate liaison officers to ensure that the protocol was adhered to.

GHMC officials facilitated cremation/burial of patients dying in Gandhi Hospital, which was mostly done in ESI graveyard. Voluntary organisations and philanthropists also pitched in, ensuring that all the bodies received decent last rites.

The situation this year is not so grave when it comes to availability of space.

Officials informed that bodies from the government hospitals are being given funeral rites at crematoria in Amberpet, Bansilalpet, Jubilee Hills, ESI and occasionally at Punjagutta.

The number of bodies each day has been on a steady rise for the past month, they say. From Gandhi Hospital alone, the number has grown from two to three per day a couple of months ago, to 15 now. No track is kept of the deaths in private hospitals and at homes.

“Up to December last, we had conducted over 200 cremations/burials. We had stopped our last ride services since January this year, as the calls had come down starting from October-November last year. Unfortunately, we had to restart the services for the past four days during which we received a total of five calls,” informed Srinivas Bellam, from Feed The Needy, a voluntary organisation offering multi-pronged COVID services.

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Printable version | May 8, 2021 1:57:07 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Hyderabad/covid-deaths-on-steady-rise-crematoriums-see-more-arrivals/article34339480.ece

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