Officials claimed that the village Sarpanch and Panchayat took the decision as the graveyard is new, and not yet used.

Three COVID19 patients were placed in isolation at a graveyard in Telangana village Screenshot
news Coronavirus Friday, July 31, 2020 - 15:47

In a shocking incident, COVID-19 patients in a Telangana village were isolated in a graveyard as the village Panchayat did not allow them to be in home isolation. According to some reports, the three patients – two men and a woman – were made to stay in the graveyard for over two days. However officials say they were only there for two to three hours and shifted to a hospital immediately after a video emerged about the incident. The incident happened in Khanapur Thanda of Narayankhed in Sangareddy district. 

The three patients including a woman were residing in shelters that were built in a graveyard for accommodating funerals of the villagers. While the two men were staying under an open shed, the woman patient was residing in a bathroom, allegedly for over two days. Earlier this week, the three patients tested positive for the virus. As they're asymptomatic, doctors asked them to isolate themselves at home.

However, village elders reportedly decided to place them in the graveyard due to fear of infection. Officials who TNM spoke to defended the action saying the graveyard was ‘newly built’ and hasn’t been used for cremations or burials yet. However the indignity of making patients stay under open sheds and bathrooms cannot be explained away, say critics. 

Officials also said that the three patients were being attended to by local medical officers and Accredited Social Health Activist (ASHA) workers. 

The Revenue Divisional Officer (RDO) of Narayankhed, Ambadas Rajeshwar, speaking to TNM said, "The village Sarpanch and village elders seem to have isolated them at those shelters as they’re unused, the graveyard was set up recently. However, health officials have taken the matter into cognizance and are pursuing the issue."

Lack of knowledge about the spread of the virus and the fear of infection among people is resulting in such shocking incidents. TNM tried to reach out to the village Sarpanch for their point of view, however we weren’t successful. 

Speaking to TNM, the District Medical and Health Officer (DMHO) Dr MR Rathod said, “They were initially directed for home isolation, and Mandal Medical Officer and ASHA workers were attending to them. We learnt they're kept in isolation at an unused new graveyard shelter. We immediately took them to their respective homes, however as they don't have facilities at home we are shifting them to MNR Hospital in Sangareddy where they will be treated."

The DMHO further claimed that the patients were in isolation at the graveyard for 2-3 hours only, when asked if the patients were there for two days as the local media reported.

According to district health officials, Sangareddy district has over 1,200 active COVID-19 cases. On Friday, alone the district reported 108 new COVID-19 cases.

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