The body of a deceased COVID-19 patient was taken to the burial ground on a cycle rickshaw in Guntur district here, the third incident in as many months and after the Andhra Pradesh government suspending two officers in Srikakulam district for a similar incident in June this year.
A video of the incident, which took place in Bapatla town of Guntur district on Wednesday and shot by a bystander has gone viral on social media.
Bapatla Town Police Station Circle Inspector Ashok said that the family of the deceased did not wait for an ambulance and took the body in a rickshaw for cremation.
"A 68-year-old man was brought to Bapatla Government General Hospital in an auto yesterday morning. He was accomped by his wife and two children. They came from Chirala town in Prakasam district. They told the doctors that the patient was suffering from heart-related problems.," the police inspector said.
After examination and first aid the man was referred to the Guntur Government General Hospital for further treatment, the inspector said.
"The family left the hospital in the noon and started ahead to Guntur Hospital. But the patient died midway, so they returned again to Bapatla Hospital," Ashok told .
"The doctors got suspicious, tested the deceased and found that he was coronavirus positive. Seeing all this, the auto driver left and the family decided they did not want to take the body to Chirala town and complete final rites at Bapatla. Hospital authorities informed the municipal administration, which arrived to carry the body for the final rites.
"An ambulance called by the hospital was about to arrive but the family members did not wait for it to arrive and rushed the municipality staff and took the body in a rickshaw for final cremation," the police official said.
The family took the body at around 3 PM in a rickshaw for performing final rites, the police inspector said.
"Some locals shot a video and posted it on social media with allegations against the hospital staff. The reality, however, is that it was the decision of family members to take the body in a rickshaw," the Bapatla Town Police Station Circle Inspector said.
Andhra Pradesh government had on June 27 suspended Palasa Municipal Commissioner T Nagendra Kumar and Stary Inspector N Rajiv after the body of a municipality employee, who later tested positive for COVID-19, was taken to the graveyard on a JCB earth mover in Palasa town in Srikakulam district of the State.
A similar incident took place on June 24 in Srikakulam where a woman who died of COVID-19 was taken on a tractor in Sompeta town.
( With inputs from ANI )