A 71-year-old man's body, after his death on Monday afternoon, had to be kept at his home in Kolkata for two days, until his COVID-19 test results were given to his family. His body could not be cremated before getting the test results, and no mortuary accepted it due to a lack of infrastructure. The test results which came on Tuesday late at night indicated that the man was COVID-19 positive.
The Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC) workers collected the body on Wednesday afternoon and took it to a cremation ground allocated for COVID-19 positive bodies.
Akshay Mullick, nephew of the deceased said, "My uncle had fever on Saturday. On Monday, his swab samples were collected by a private laboratory on the advice of a local doctor. But, he suffered a cardiac arrest soon after that and died around 3 pm."
"Three mortuaries turned us down, as none has the infrastructure to preserve a COVID-19 patient's body," he added. The family of the deceased had contacted KMC, Kolkata Police and the state health department, but no assistance was offered.
The police informed the state health department regarding the test results on Tuesday night, and the last rites of the deceased were performed on Wednesday afternoon. The family had to wait until then due to COVID-19 norms. An officer from the local police station said, "We were in constant touch with the family members. As the man had died with COVID-19 symptoms and his test result was awaited, nothing could be done."
A neighbor of the deceased said, "The family somehow managed to arrange a freezer, a glass box with ice, on Tuesday to keep the body. It was only after 10 pm on Tuesday that his test result came, that showed COVID-19 positive." All the family members of the deceased have been directed to stay under home quarantine.
Atin Ghosh, a member of the Board of Administrators (BoA) that regulates the KMC said, "We were in touch with the family all through. Everything was done as per the prescribed norms and after consulting the KMC and health department officials and experts."