An image of a COVID-19 patient's dead body being carried to the graveyard in an auto rickshaw in Telangana has surfaced on social media.
The incident reportedly occurred last week and was covered by local television channels. In the image, the deceased's body can be seen placed horizontally at the bottom of the rear seat, protruding from either side of the moving vehicle.
Neither the driver nor the person sitting beside him wore personal protection equipment (PPE), which is mandatory for those disposing of the body of a COVID-19 patient.
District collector C Narayana Reddy said he has ordered an inquiry into the incident. Further, the services of the contract municipal employee, who took the body of COVID-19 victim to the graveyard, have been terminated.
"There are only two ambulances in the Nizamabad hospital which are meant for disposing of the dead bodies. On Friday, four people, including three COVID-19 patients, died. While two ambulances had already left with two bodies, the other two bodies completely packed were kept ready for disposal," Hindustan Times quoted the collector as saying.
According to Reddy, the hospital asked the deceased's relatives to wait for an hour for an ambulance, but they preferred to carry the body in their auto rickshaw.
"So, the hospital authorities arranged for contract municipal employee to accompany the body to the graveyard," Reddy said.
Dr Ramesh Reddy, director of medical issue, has ordered a detailed enquiry in the matter.
"The hospital superintendent has been instructed to file criminal cases against those employees who were involved in handing over the body. All the hospital superintendents are instructed to strictly follow the guidelines and such incidents should not be repeated in the public interest," Reddy said.