Shillong: Meghalaya health minister Prestone Tynsong on Saturday urged the local authorities in the state not to go against the government’s order and allow families to take the bodies of their kin who succumbed to COVID-19 to their residential compounds for last rites.

Following a meeting with the health department, Tynsong said that they have got complaints from families saying they have been restricted from bringing the bodies of COVID-19 victims to their residences.

Tynsong highlighted that the state government had already issued an order on May 4 this year allowing families to take the bodies of COVID-19 victims home. However, they were strictly restricted from taking the bodies inside their houses.

Tynsong said that local heads should follow the order dated May 4, related to the management of disposal of bodies of COVID-19 victims.

“Out of fear, some village authorities are not allowing families to bring the bodies to the compound. I would like to remind them and request them to kindly follow the notification issued by the health department on May 4, 2021,” said Tynsong.

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The government has also instructed all deputy commisioners concerned of the districts to have a consultative discussion with traditional heads since they need their support at the grassroots level. The health minister will also soon hold a meeting with those traditional heads.

Meanwhile, when asked if enough financial support has been given to the traditional heads to fight COVID-19, Tynsong said that the government had last year paid Rs 5,000 to the COVID-19 Committee Management Team (CCMT).

CCMT involves traditional heads, religious leaders and community leaders and it has been given the responsibility to manage the COVID-19 situation in their localities.

At present, lockdowns are also not on the government’s agenda, added Tynsong.

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