The unavailability of a hearse van helper forced two sons of a COVID-19 patient to don PPE kits and carry his body to a crematorium in eastern suburb of Ghatkopar in Mumbai, an official said on Tuesday.
An elderly doctor from Ganesh Nagar area of Ghatkopar, died of COVID-19 at Hindu Mahasabha Hospital late on Sunday night, the official said.
The infected doctor was admitted to the hospital's COVID-19 care centre on Saturday night, following which his condition deteriorated and he died of the infection on Sunday, he said.
One of the sons of the man, who is also a doctor, then tried arranging for a hearse van, but was forced to call local corporator Archana Bhalerao, as no vehicle was available till early hours of Monday, the official said.
However, when the van finally arrived, there was no helper to move the body into the vehicle and later take it inside the crematorium, he said.
As per the standard procedure, a helper needs to don a PPE kit, before moving bodies into hearse vans and later inside crematoriums, the official said.
With no solution in sight, the man's sons along with their friend and the van driver wore PPE kits and transported the body to the crematorium, where the last rites were performed at 10 am, he added.
Mumbai has so far recorded 31,972 COVID-19 cases and 1,026 deaths. The rise in coronavirus cases has put tremendous pressure on medical and allied staff and has also led to shortage of manpower.