Baina parishioner and social worker Peter Andrade on Saturday demanded that undertakers handling coffins of Covid victim wear PPEs and other safety gear, while also insisting that the coffin of the Covid victim be sealed before burial.
Speaking to reporters, Andrade said these steps are very important to safeguard and prevent the risk of spreading the infection to priests, who offer prayers during burial services.
“I was always under the impression that the undertaker’s team wore safety gear, the coffin was sealed and burial was strictly conducted as per SOPs and guidelines.”
“On Saturday, I happened to be near the cemetery and saw an ambulance carrying a body of a person who had expired from Covid. I was aghast to see that none of the persons handling the coffin wore PPE kits, but were only wearing gloves and masks.”
“I saw the plastic-wrapped body inside the coffin as the lid was open,” said Andrade.
“Many workers of undertakers do not wear PPE kits, someplace the coffin near the grave and some walk away without filling the mud at the grave.”
“While undertakers have been overworked, they should ensure utmost care for their workers, the family of the deceased, the priest officiating the final rites, and the church cemetery workers.”
Andrade admitted that the number of deaths had risen sharply in Baina.
“During pre-Covid times, the Baina parish would witness an average of 15 deaths per year, but last month alone, there were 7 Covid-related burials and 2 other funerals,” said Andrade.
Andrade also accused some undertakers of overcharging people for their services.
“Some people have revealed to me that an amount of Rs 30,000 is being charged by some undertakers for Covid-related services, which include an arrangement of the coffin, PPE kits, transportation from the Covid hospital/morgue to the cemetery, and filling of the grave with mud,” said Andrade.