India officials sorry for Covid body disposal video

Officials in the south Indian state of Karnataka have apologised after footage showing officials dumping bodies of Covid -19 victims caused outrage.

The videos circulated on social media showed workers in PPE kits tossing bodies wrapped in black garbage bags into deep pits.

Officials in the state’s Bellary district confirmed that the footage was genuine and apologised to families.

The bodies were of eight people who had died of Covid-19 days earlier.

Karnataka has seen more than 246 deaths due to Covid. However, it has been recognised as one of the states that has been more successful in tracing and containing the disease.

“We have issued a letter of unconditional apology to the families of the dead. We are very hurt by this and we are very sorry. We condemn the way corpses have been treated. They should have been treated more humanely,” senior district official SS Nakula told BBC Hindi’s Imran Qureshi.

“They followed all the protocols. Where they have gone wrong is not the part of the protocol but the mentality that a dead body should be handled with dignity,” he added.

He said that the men in the video had been removed, adding that they would be replaced by a new team who would dispose of bodies “with sensitivity”.

There has been a lot of fear and stigma surrounding Covid-19 in India. People who contract the illness are stigmatised and shunned, while their bodies are often disposed of as health workers are afraid to touch them.

With almost 600,000 confirmed cases, India has the fourth-highest number of Covid infections in the world.

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