Kerala’s First COVID-19 Fatality Buried As Per Protocol

The body of a 69-year-old man who died due to novel coronavirus infection was buried in Kochi, Kerala, on Saturday, in a simple ceremony attended by only five relatives and monitored by officials after it was brought wrapped in leak-proof bag as per the Union Health Ministry guidelines.

The man, hailing from Chullikkal in Ernakulam, was admitted to the isolation ward on March 22 after his return from Dubai. He was admitted with symptoms of pneumonia but later tested positive for coronavirus. He was also suffering from heart disease and high blood pressure and had udergone a bypass surgery earlier. His wife and the taxi driver who ferried him from the airport to his home from airport on March 16, have tested positve for COVID-19 and are now being treated at the isolation facility at the hospital.

Only Five Relatives, Dozens of Protocols

The body was brought to the burial ground of a masjid near Mattancherry secured in a triple-layer body bag, the exterior of which was decontaminated, to ensure it posed no risk to others while being transported in ambulance. The man, who had returned from Dubai, died at the Government Medical College Hospital, in Ernakulam on Saturday morning, becoming Kerala's first COVID-19 fatality.

Five relatives, five volunteers and five officials of the district administration, health department and Kochi city corporation were present for the burial. Relatives said final prayers for the departed soul before the body was laid to rest at 3 pm. They were not allowed to touch the body.

Social Distancing Maintained Throughout

Officials said large gathering was not allowed at the burial ground as a social distancing measure. Volunteers, who handled the burial, followed standard precautions, wearing masks and gloves. The burial ground staff, who were sensitised that COVID-19 would not pose any risk, had dug a special 10-feet deep pit in an identified spot in the burial ground before the body was brought for burial. Earlier, Kerala Health Minister K K Shailaja said certain protocols had to be followed by the family of the deceased.

His wife and daughter were allowed to see the body through a video call with the hospital before it was wrapped for the funeral.

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