In a bizarre incident, as many as 18 relatives who attended the funeral of a COVID-19 patient tested positive for the virus on Friday, May 29 in Ulhasnagar town of Maharashtra's Thane district.
According to reports, the 40-year-old woman who died on May 25 had been showing coronavirus symptoms and the hospital had conducted tests on her body.
The woman's body had been handed over to her family with specific instructions to not open the body bag, however, an official said that the family opened the wrapped body to perform last rites.
The relatives' also adamantly flouted the cremation guidelines with having at least 70 persons attend the funeral, informed a spokesperson of the Ulhasnagar Municipal Corporation, reported NDTV.
The police officials were first informed about the funeral and later the civic authorities were notified.
After the test results of the woman established that she was infected with COVID-19, as many as 50 relatives were quarantined, out of which 18 tested positive.
"We are going file a police case against the relatives who, despite being told about the guidelines, violated them on purpose and put so many others at risk," said senior Ulhasnagar Municipal Corporation official, reported India Today.
A case has been registered against the deceased's family for violating provisions of the Epidemic Act, another official informed.
Standard operating procedures for managing funerals of a COVID-19 infected or a suspected patient had been issued by the Union Health Ministry.
These procedures specifically disallowed large gathering for the last rites. It also allowed the relatives to see the body of the deceased one time provided the bag was unzipped by a staff member (as per the hospital instructions) and prohibited touching, hugging or bathing the body for rituals.
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