Keelakarai police has booked two sons of a 71- year old man, whose samples turned positive for COVID-19 two days after his burial, under various provisions of the Epidemic Diseases Act, Tamil Nadu Public Health Act and Disaster Management Act for "suppression of facts", The New Indian Express reported.
The 71-year-old man died in Chennai’s Stanley Medical College Hospital last Thursday. His test results which were released on Saturday evening confirmed that he tested positive for Covid-19. He was the fourth death due to the deadly disease in the state.
The deceased victim, who returned from Dubai on March 16, came to hospital on Thursday complaining of severe breathing difficulties. He was admitted to hospital at 9am and was declared dead by 11am. Duty doctors subsequently took samples and sent them to the laboratory for test.
The hospital packed the body in a body bag as per protocol and handed it over to his family members. Doctors informed family member that his test results were awaited.
The family members took the body to Ramanathapuram in an ambulance. They reached Keezhakarai the next day. His body was buried at a mosque around 10am on Friday.
According to media reports, the family conducted his funeral as per their customs in their native Keelakarai in Ramanathapuram district, with the body being washed, kept for homage and buried
At least 200 people attended the funeral including Ramanathapuram MLA and former minister M Manikandan. All those who attended the funeral have now been quarantined as a result.
Based on a complaint filed by Keelakarai Village Administrative Officer (VAO) Marimuthu, Keelakarai police registered a case against the sons of the decesed.
The New Indian Express reported quoted police sources as saying that cases were booked since “the two brothers acted in a manner that could spread coronavirus infection, despite knowing that their father was a patient of coronavirus infection and despite the prohibitory orders that are in place”.
"The case has been booked for suppression of facts. The duo did not disclose that their father was admitted to the coronavirus ward at Stanley Medical College Hospital and that he was suspected to have COVID-19 at the private hospital in Chennai where the deceased man was taken before he was taken to Stanley Hospital where he died," Ramanathapuram Superintendent of Police V Varun Kumar said.
The family of the deceased have refused the charges by local health authorities and police. They claim that they had no clue that their father might have had COVID-19 when they took the body to Keelakarai in an ambulance the same night, with the family following the ambulance in two cars.
The Times Of India quoted director of public health Dr K Kolandasamy as saying “In all the deaths so far, hospital authorities and district officials ensured that there were not more than three or four people near the body. We do not allow them to open the bag. They can just see the face of the deceased.”
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