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Volunteers set example, bury woman of COVID-hit family
Arindam Gupta

Aapada Mitra volunteers carrying the body of the deceased woman for burial in Cachar district. – Photo: Staff Correspondent, Silchar
 SILCHAR, July 13 - At a time when the government is trying its best to dispel the fear among people regarding COVID-19 affected persons, Aapada Mitra volunteers of Cachar district have set an example by conducting the final rites of an elderly woman after members of her family tested positive for the virus.

 On Saturday, three Aapada Mitra volunteers stepped up for the burial of the 85-year-old woman, when three persons from the family of the deceased were found to be positive and the house was turned into a containment zone, said Biprajit Paul Choudhury, Field Officer (Disaster Management) of Sonai Revenue Circle.

Talking to The Assam Tribune, he said, “The woman, identified as Santibala Nath, a resident of Narsingpur Part-II village, died on July 10. However, on July 9, three persons from her house were tested and found COVID-19 positive. The affected patients have been kept in isolation at the Silchar Medical College and Hospital (SMCH).

“The house and its neighbouring areas have been turned into a containment zone as per protocol, and hence no one was available for the last rites of the deceased,” he said.

“When we contacted the Aapada Mitras in the vicinity, Nazom Uddin Choudhury, Sohid Ahmed Choudhury and Roshid Ahmed Choudhury came forward for the burial of the deceased, along with a person from the family. However, before the burial, swab samples of the deceased woman was collected for COVID-19 tests. The Aapada Mitra volunteers were provided with PPE kits to ensure their safety,” the official added.

Shamim Ahmed Laskar, project officer of the District Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) Cachar, said the Aapada Mitra volunteers were given training on disaster responsiveness a year ago. “We are happy to see that they have shown courage in responding to the present disaster,” he said.

On Sunday, at least 22 more COVID-19 positive cases, including the 85-year-old deceased woman, were detected in Cachar district. After the woman from Narsingpur died, her swab sample was collected posthumously before her burial. Later, it was found positive. This was the first COVID-19 casualty in Cachar district, an official said on Sunday.

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