Coronavirus Pandemic

India: Kerala allows bodies of Covid victims to be taken home for brief last rites

Web Report/Thiruvananthapuram
Filed on June 30, 2021
PTI file photo

While Covid cases have declined in many parts of India, Kerala continues to battle the persistently high rates.

The Kerala government has decided to allow bodies of Covid-19 victims to be taken to their homes for the last rites. India’s pandemic protocol does not allow bodies to be taken home, but last year following a court judgement, West Bengal became the first state to allow relatives to do so for the last rites.

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan told the media on Tuesday that many relatives could not see the bodies of their loved ones following their succumbing to Covid, adding to their emotional distress. “The government wants that the bodies of Covid-19 victims should be laid for homage at their homes for a specific time and for conducting rituals as per their faith,” he said. “An hour would be allowed for this.”

The Calcutta high court had last year stipulated guidelines to be followed by the relatives, which included that no religious rites that required touching the body be allowed.

Relatives of patients suffering from Covid are unable to interact with them in hospitals, where only the medical staff are allowed. After a patient succumbs to the ailment, the bodies are taken directly to crematoriums. The tough rules have eased of late and close relatives are allowed to visit the crematoriums to see the bodies of their dear ones being cremated.

While Covid cases have declined in many parts of India, Kerala continues to battle the persistently high rates. “We could gradually bring down the TPR from 29.75 per cent to 10 per cent,” said Vijayan. “But there is no further decline on expected lines. It is a concern that the TPR is not going below 10 per cent. Last week’s figures show there is no fall in the number of active cases.”

Tuesday saw 13,500 cases and 104 confirmed deaths.

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