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COVID 19 victim’s body carried in a JCB machine in Andhra Pradesh

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Andhra Pradesh: In a shocking incident, the body of a man who died from COVID 19 in Andhra Pradesh was taken to burial ground in a JCB earthmover machine by the municipal staff in Srikakulam district. After the incident came to light, the officials are responsible for the undignified way the patient was treated after his death has now been suspended by the Srikakulam District Collector.

The incident took place in Palasa Town in Srikakulam District on Friday, after the 72-year-old died of COVID 19. A video of the incident has gone viral on social media, which showed four people dressed in PPE kits, and a JCB driver taking away the body to the cremation ground.

Suspended

Following the incident, district collector J Nivas suspended Palasa municipal Commissioner C Nagender Kumar and Sanitary inspector. He also ordered a probe into the incident. The man who died of COVID 19 was a former employee in the municipality and died at home. He had undergone COVID-19 test, the report of the test also came around the time of his death.

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According to Palasa municipality commissioner N Ramesh, the sanitary inspector was forced to use the JCB machine, meant for handling construction material, as no one would come forward to handle the victim’s body, or allow their vehicle to be used for transporting the body. He said that this was the first COVID 19 death in Palasa and the people were not prepared to handle it and were scared to come close to the body.

“We were told that the body had to be disposed of either by the medical and health department, or the municipality. But no workers came forward. Our sanitary inspector took two municipality staff along and went to the patients house. But no one came forward, no taxi, no auto, not tractors, nor the private vehicles like taxis or autos.”

None for help

He said adding that a few people even drove away with their vehicles, on being asked for help.

He also claimed that “the victim’s family was completely aware of the situation, and consented to the way the body was finally taken away. With the consent of the family members, they used the JCB machine to lift the body, took it to the cremation ground and performed the last rites following protocol,” he said.

As of Friday morning Srikakulam district has reported 62 cases of COVID-19, of which 24 are active cases. 36 people have been discharged after recovery and two people have died.

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