The Tamil Nadu Health Minister condemned the attack on friends and family members of Dr Simon who died due to COVID-19 on Sunday.

20 arrested for disrupting burial of Dr Simon in Chennai TN Health MinisterImage for Representation/PTI
Coronavirus Coronavirus Monday, April 20, 2020 - 18:53

The Tamil Nadu Health Minister C Vijayabaskar condemned the series of events that took place on Sunday evening following neurosurgeon Dr Simon’s death.

The Chennai doctor who tested positive for COVID-19 two weeks ago was undergoing treatment at Apollo hospital and around 6.15 pm on Sunday he passed away. When his family members along with some of his colleagues tried to bury his body at a cemetery in Kilpauk, residents allegedly created trouble, not allowing the family to proceed, fearing spreading of infection. His family members, two ambulance drivers and his colleagues were physically harmed in the melee that ensued.

“What happened to that doctor is condemnable. The Chief Minister has taken action and 20 people have been arrested for attempt to murder. The CM has taken action. Such things should not happen in the future,” he said. The 55-year-old Managing Director of New Hope Hospital in Chennai passed away on Sunday due to the novel coronavirus.

Read: How Dr Simon, who died of COVID-19 in Chennai, was denied dignity in death

Dispelling rumours regarding the virus, the Minister said, “We follow all procedures when burying a body and we also give necessary protection to workers. No infection will spread through the air. Don't spread rumours like this.”

“The doctor who died is a neurosurgeon. He was ethical and did his duty till the end. Unfortunately he got the virus. Due to comorbidity he didn't survive. We are also saddened. But to say there was negligence is wrong,” he added.

Two more people succumbed to COVID-19 on Monday, taking the total number of deaths in the state to 17. Forty-three persons also tested positive in the state for the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes the disease COVID-19 on Monday. This take’s the state’s total number of infected to 1520.

Over the past few days, the state has ramped up testing with 6109 samples tested on Monday alone. The total number of samples tested so far is 46,985.

Tamil Nadu also reported 46 recoveries on Monday, and with this number the total number of recoveries stands at 457. Speaking to reporters, Minister of Health and Family Welfare, C Vijayabaskar said, “We have the second highest number of discharges after Maharashtra, which has more positive cases in comparison. Mortality rate is in control and we are doing focussed testing. We are testing primary and secondary contacts who may get the infection. Of over 6000 samples, that only 43 have tested positive is comforting. We are not doing random sampling. Centre has appreciated us for following protocol.”

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