Deceased Covid patient’s body can be taken home for up to an hour: Kerala CM
- The decision comes at backdrop of union health ministry starting earlier in the day that the number of cases of Delta Plus variant of Covid-19 has now risen to 51 from 48
Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Tuesday announced that deceased bodies of those who succumb to coronavirus (Covid-19) will be allowed to be taken home, news agency ANI reported. “The body can be kept for up to one hour,” Vijayan was quoted as saying by ANI.
He added that family members and relatives of those who lose their lives due to Covid-19 are unable to pay their last respect, which is in turn, “adding to [their] emotional distress.” The latest decision is to address this issue, the chief minister told ANI.
Ever since the pandemic hit India, there have been controversies related to the cremation of a Covid-19 positive patient’s body. While in the initial months, only those associated with the health authorities were allowed to take care of the last rites and paying last respects, over time, certain relaxations were provided.
Last year in September, West Bengal became the first Indian state or Union territory to allow the family members and relatives to take the deceased Covid positive person’s body for completion of last rites, while following all safety protocols, ruled the Calcutta High Court.
The petitioner in the case, Vineet Ruia, had told the court that bodies of Covid patients were being “disposed of by the administration unceremoniously and in an undignified manner” without showing any “resemblance of respect to the mortal remains of the dead person.”
The court’s ruling laid down nine guidelines that the deceased’s kin have to follow, of which one is to perform no religious rites that require touching the body.
Vijayan’s announcement comes at a time when the Union health ministry confirmed that the number of Delta plus cases of Covid-19 has now climbed up to 51 from 48. According to data shared by the ministry earlier, Kerala has reported three such cases so far, with Maharashtra accounting for the majority of the 51 cases.
With the fear of a possible third wave looming over, several states, including Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Punjab and West Bengal, among others, have either brought back lockdown-like curbs or extended the earlier ones.
Meanwhile, Kerala reported 13,550 new coronavirus cases in the last 24 hours till 2pm on Tuesday, taking the cumulative tally of the state to 2,910,507, the state Covid-19 bulletin data showed. With 104 new fatalities reported, Kerala’s death toll has reached 13,093, the data added.