The funeral of a Christian priest who died due to COVID-19 in Thiruvananthapuram was carried out on Thursday. The burial was conducted as per protocol for COVID-19 deaths. The funeral comes a day residents protested the burial citing legal issues over the cemetery. Officials were forced to postpone the funeral on Wednesday as tension prevailed at Malamukal near Vattiyoorkav.
The 77-year-old priest, a native of Nalanchira in Thiruvananthapuram died on Tuesday morning while undergoing treatment at the Medical College Hospital after he got injured in an accident. He was also suffering from pneumonia. His swab had been sent for testing and the result returned positive on Tuesday evening.
On Thursday, the City Corporation team led by Health Standing Committee Chairman IP Binu received the priestâ€™s body from the Medical College Hospital at around 2.30 pm. The funeral was held at the Orthodox Church cemetery at Kumarapuram near Malamukal.
Source of infection unknown
Authorities are yet to trace the source of the priest's COVID-19 infection. The priest had no travel history outside the state in the recent past and hadn't been in contact with anyone who had contracted the disease. He had, however, been admitted in hospital for over a month after he met with an accident on April 20. Though some reports suggested that he may have contracted the infection from the hospital, the health officials were unavailable for comment.
Around 20 medical professionals of the Medical College Hospital have been asked to go into quarantine after the priest's swab returned positive. This includes doctors and medical officers.
â€śHe had been first admitted to the Medical College, but was shifted to the Government Hospital Peroorkkada on May 20 as there was an improvement in his health condition. But he was again shifted to the Medical College Hospital as his condition turned worse,â€ť Mannanathala ward councilor Anilkumar told TNM. The priest was a retired government employee.
His swab samples were taken after his death. As of Thursday evening, the COVID-19 death toll in Kerala is 15.