Pune Municipal Corporation arranges six vans for the cremation of COVID-19 victims

ST CORRESPONDENT
Sunday, 12 April 2020

The Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) has arranged six special dedicated vans and a team to cremate coronavirus victims.

Pune: The Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) has arranged six special dedicated vans and a team to cremate coronavirus victims. The decision was taken after there was a delay in the cremation of two bodies in the last two days. Since the civic staff did not have personal protective equipment (PPE) to be used while handling the bodies, there was a delay. As per government guidelines, PPE kits are mandatory for handling coronavirus victims’ bodies.

Shriniwas Kandul, PMC Additional City Engineering of Electrical Department, said, “In the last two days, our staff could not get PPE kits to handle bodies at Vaikunth and Yerawada crematorium. Hence, the last rites could not be performed for more than two hours. Actually, concerned ward officers should provide kits to the staff members. However, this did not happen. So, we have decided to streamline the process.”

Kandul further said, “We have stationed six vans especially to cremate the bodies of COVID-19 victims. The vans have been equipped with PPE kits, hand gloves, masks, shoes and hand sanitisers. We have set up a control room from which we get information on COVID-19 deaths. After that, we inform the concerned gas and electrical crematorium. A van collects the body and takes it for cremation.”

According to PMC officials, the instructions have already been given about the usage of PPE and sanitisation of crematorium before and after cremation to the concerned persons. Any lapses in it can be life-threatening. The staff members who are handling the bodies should be fully protected. They should have full body suit, hand gloves and masks. The steps are being taken for proper sanitisation of the crematoriums.

Precautions
As per a press release issued by the PMC, it has been decided to use gas or electric furnace for the cremation of COVID-19 victims. Similarly, if such bodies are to be buried, they should be buried at least 6 feet deep, after placing the bodies in two thick plastic bags. Healthcare professionals in hospitals and people involved in the cremation of such persons should use PPE while placing the body in two leak-proof plastic bags after decontaminating the same.

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Maharashtra remains the worst-affected state in India with the positive cases nearing the 1,500-mark. The total infected cases in India have surpassed 8,500 with the death toll soaring past 250. Globally, the pandemic situation continues to worsen with almost 1.8 million cases and over 1.1 fatalities. 

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