Bengaluru: The Ballari administration in Karnataka has apologised after a viral video sparked outrage on social media over the manner in which the remains of the district’s Covid-19 deceased were handled by the on-field staff. It also sacked the team involved in the incident.
The video showed five personnel, who were wearing personal protective equipment, throwing bodies sealed in black bags into a grave. Eight bodies were seen being thrown into graves.
It's disturbing to see bodies of COVID patients who have died being dumped inhumanly into a pit in Ballari.
Is this civility? This is a reflection of how the govt has handled this Corona crisis.
— AMI (@rebuild_nation) June 30, 2020
On Tuesday, Ballari Deputy Commissioner S.S. Nakul issued a statement and said an investigation has been initiated into the incident.
“The district administration is deeply upset and sorrowful at the manner in which the remains of the deceased were handled. The district administration condones the disrespectful handling of the bodies while being lowered onto the ground by the field-staff,” it said.
Speaking to ThePrint, Nakul confirmed that the entire field team involved in the incident has been disbanded and a new team, which has been trained by Vijayanagar Institute of Medical Sciences, has been brought in its place.
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The video caused outrage on social media and questions were raised on the “inhuman” way in which the bodies of the deceased were handled.
Ballari has recorded 29 Covid deaths so far amid 834 positive cases.
Following Covid procedures, most of those who died due to the pandemic were buried by medical personnel in the absence of their family members.
According to the burial protocol specified by the Union government, the deceased’s nose, mouth and ears have to be sealed and their body wrapped in three layers of PPE before being placed into a body bag.
The protocol also specifies that the graves for these such bodies should be dug 10 feet deep and a generous amount of bleaching powder must be used around the area. Limited number of persons, apart from medical officials, are allowed in the burial area.
Nakul said all protocols for burial were strictly followed. However, he did express concern over the insensitive way in which the bodies were handled. He added that the number of bodies that can be buried at a time is not specified in the Covid protocols.
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