Piling Covid-19 bodies worry Mumbai health authorities

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Mumbai, June 11 (IANS) The large number of Covid-19 victims’ bodies – at least 10 times more than pre-Covid 19 times – is fast turning into a crisis for the BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation health authorities as it battles the pandemic.
This has led to numerous other problems like dead bodies clogging up Covid-19 wards and corridors in the major public hospitals, morgues virtually overflowing, disappearance of bodies, relatives reluctant to claim bodies, disposal without family’s consent and long queues at crematoria or cemeteries, officials said.
In response to reports alleging many bodies of Covid-19 victims lying unclaimed at the KEM Hospital, Mayor Kishori Pednekar informed media persons on Thursday that only seven bodies have not yet been handed over as the relatives are not traceable.
“Only one body is lying there for three weeks, the others are very recent. We have discussed in detail the situation likely to emerge in the near future and the measures to be taken in this regard,” Pednekar said.
Besides Municipal Commissioner I.S. Chahal, the issue has also been flagged to Police Commissioner Param Bir Singh since all the authorities concerned are expected to adhere to the Covid-19 disposal guidelines, she added.
“It’s a worrying scenario… If not managed properly, dead bodies could further complicate the war against the virus,” said a civic health department official on the problem confronting the civic body.
Mumbai has a total 69 crematoria, comprising 49 run by BMC, including 11 electric, and 20 private ones, which are now handling loads every month which has surpassed their annual number of bodies in the pre-Covid 19 times.
For instance, before the Covid-19 pandemic, most crematoria handled around 30 bodies per month, now it has multiplied 10-12 times, creating massive handling problems, delays, crowding of relatives and other issues.
This is in addition to normal non-Covid 19 deaths, which are also handled by these same crematoria, multiplying the chaos.
Meanwhile, Bharatiya Janata Party Vice President Kirit Somaiya has highlighted the issue of dead bodies and the long waiting time at crematoria or cemeteries.
“Cremation is taking 8-22 hours. I visited Marine Lines, Ghatkopar, Kandivali and Bhandup crematoria. The situation is the same everywhere,” he claimed.

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