Kolkata: West Bengal witnessed Wednesday a record 61 people succumbing to COVID-19, pushing the death toll in the state to 1,846, the health department said. The coronavirus caseload also went up to 83,800 after West Bengal reported the highest single-day spike of 2,816 new infections. Since Tuesday, 2,078 people have recovered from the disease. The number of active patients stood at 22,992, the health department bulletin said. In the last 24 hours, 24,047 samples have been tested in West Bengal.
Meanwhile in a separate development the Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC) said Wednesday that ashes of persons who died of COVID-19 will be respectfully kept in designated crematoriums. Family members of the deceased can collect the same anytime.
According to protocol, family members of COVID-19 victims cannot attend the cremation. Thus they are not able to collect the ashes at that time, said Atin Ghosh, a member of the KMC Board of Administrators.
“The authorities follow all the rituals while cremating a body in the presence of a priest. The ashes are preserved in urns. Family members of the deceased can collect the urn any day after cremation, even after 14 days of their quarantine period,” Ghosh said.
The KMC has two designated places where bodies of COVID-19 patients are consigned to flames. One is Nimtala crematorium in north Kolkata while the other one is Dhapa crematorium in the eastern part of the city.
While collecting the urn, a family member needs to furnish the death certificate and his or her own identity proof, he said.
Central government official Rangan Basu, who lost his father to COVID-19 around two months back, said he was not aware of the procedure of collecting ashes. He said that there had been no official announcement on the same.
“We were all in quarantine. I could not follow the rituals required at the crematorium. Now I plan to go to Topsia and collect the urn. We will take the advice of our family priest, as all other rituals are over,” Basu said.