Panic due to COVID-19 has seen several COVID-19 victims being treated in an undignifed way. Reports of dead bodies being mishandled have surfaced from various countries, primarily due to the fear of contracting the virus. Closer home in Andhra Pradesh, visuals of a COVID-19 victim in Srikakulam being transported and buried using a JCB earthmover went viral last week, and attracted the attention of Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy. In the latest, similar reports of a COVID-19 victim’s body being buried using a JCB earthmover have surfaced from Harischandra Cemetery in Tirupati.
In the video that has gone viral on social media, four frontline workers are seen standing aside while a JCB earthmover transports and dumps the victim’s body into a grave. The latest video, showcasing the mishandling of the COVID-19 victim, has attracted flak against the concerned municipal authorities currently employed in Tirupati.
Reportedly, the frontline workers alleged that the victim’s relatives refused to come into close contact with the dead body, and expecting them to do so, is dangerous and could prove fatal.
Last week, when a similar incident took place in Palasa, Srikakulam where the body of a municipality employee was carried in a JCB earthmover, the Andhra Pradesh government suspended Palasa’s Municipal Commissioner, T Nagendra Kumar and Sanitary Inspector, N Rajeev, soon after the visuals surfaced online. AP Chief Minister, YS Jagan Mohan Reddy stated that the actions of few individuals are disheartening when humanity is much needed during the COVID-19 crisis. In a tweet, the Chief Minister also said that such incidents must not repeat anywhere and that strict action will be taken against those who resort to such steps.
As on Monday, Chittoor district reported a total of 1444 COVID-19 cases. While 857 were marked active, 574 individuals were discharged post recovery. 13 patients succumbed to the deadly virus in the district so far.