Locals Block Last Rites Of Meghalaya's First Coronavirus Patient

Meghalaya has launched a massive search for the person who spread the virus. (File)

Guwahati:

The last rites of the 69-year-old doctor who died after contracting coronavirus infection, is proving a challenge for the government of Meghalaya. The doctor died of COVID-19 related problems at Shillong’s Bethany Hospital this morning. He was the owner of the hospital and had tested positive on Monday. His six family members also tested positive.

The local people have refused to allow the cremation, alleging that the workers are not skilled and they do not have any kind of safety gear. The tribal chieftains have also refused to allow burial of the ashes at hi farmhouse near Nongpoh in Ri Bhoi district, government sources said. 

Chief Minister Conrad Sangma is trying to solve this crisis. 

On Wednesday afternoon, the administration had started the formalities for the last rites but faced opposition from the locals and the tribal leaders. 

The doctor was the first patient of coronavirus detected in the state. He had no travel history and it is suspected that he contracted the disease from a silent carrier. The state government started a massive search for the infected person, and has announced a two-day curfew in the capital city.

More than 2,000 people have been identified who were in contact with the doctor, said Mr Sangma, who had tweeted his condolence for the doctor.

So far, 45 people have proved positive for the highly contagious virus in the northeast and two people have died, one of them from Assam. The maximum numbers – 32 — also come from Assam.

The death in Meghalaya came two days after Nagaland reported its first case. Now among the northeastern states, only Sikkim remains coronavirus-free.

All seven states of the area have barred entry for tourists, domestic and foreign.

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