The body of a COVID-19 patient was kept inside a shop in North Kolkata for around 15 hours by his family members after doctors at a hospital refused to issue a death certificate as his coronavirus test report was pending.
The administration arranged for his cremation on Thursday afternoon after local people put up a road blockade demanding removal of the body from the shop in the congested Ultadanga area, family members of the 55-year-old deceased said.
The incident occurred close on the heels of another incident in which he body of a septuagenarian coronavirus patient was kept inside a freezer by his family members here for at least 48 hours as "no help" came from the authorities to cremate it.
The 55-year-old owner of a sweetmeat shop in Ultadanga, who was sick for sometime, underwent tests for COVID-19 infection on Wednesday and died after returning from the laboratory in the evening, family sources said.
His family members brought the body to the Kolkata Medical College and Hospital, a government facility, on Wednesday night but the doctors there refused to issue a death certificate, since the result of the coronavirus test was still pending, they said.
"We brought back the body from the hospital around 10 pm, kept it in the sweetmeat shop and informed the local police station about the situation. We all slept outside on the road," the brother of the deceased said.
On Thursday morning, reports confirmed that he was suffering from COVID-19, following which locals blockade a road, demanding immediate removal of the body from the shop, sources in the local police station said.
The civic body and the state health department were informed by the police station and the body of the man was removed for cremation around 1 pm, they sad.
After that, the shop and the area around it were sanitised, an official of the state health department said.
The department was mulling the option of testing those who were working at the shop, he said.
"As of now, we have asked them to stay at home isolation. We are also trying to find out who had purchased sweets from the shop in the last few days," the official said.
The incident occurred on a day when the city saw the highest single-day spike of 218 cases.