A woman from Uttar Pradesh’s Firozabad was forced to carry the body of her husband – who died of COVID-19 – in an e-rickshaw, because she had no money to pay for an ambulance.
Her son alleged his father was unable to get a bed, or treatment, from hospitals or Covid treatment facilities. He also said ambulance drivers charged exorbitant amounts to carry the body home.
In heart-breaking visuals, the woman can be seen sitting in the back of the e-rickshaw and holding on to her husband’s body, which appears to be tied to the frame to prevent it from falling out of the vehicle.
With more than 2.85 lakh active cases UP is one of India’s worst-affected states; on Tuesday morning it reported nearly 30,000 new cases and 285 deaths in 24 hours.
It is among 10 states to account for over 73 per cent of all cases reported on Monday.
Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has been criticised for his handling of the pandemic, with Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra last month alleging “failure of governance“.
She also accused him of insensitive remarks after he claimed there was no oxygen shortage in UP.
The pandemic has killed over two lakh people in India alone, but more than the numbers it is the harrowing stories and visuals that have emerged that are most distressing.
On Saturday a 35-year-old Covid positive woman died in the parking lot of a government-run hospital in UP’s Noida, gasping for breath as her attendant begged the authorities for a bed.
Last week, a young woman in Delhi lost her mother while she was running around frantically trying to find oxygen refills. Her mother died while as she fell to her knees and begged for oxygen.
Days before visuals emerged of UP’s Agra of a woman desperately giving CPR to her Covid-positive husband as their auto-rickshaw dashed to a hospital. He died right outside the hospital gates.
Also from Agra, a man was forced to carry his father’s body strapped to the roof a Honda sedan because no ambulances were available.
India has been hit by a devastating wave of Covid infections – over 3.5 lakh cases per day since April 28 and over three lakh cases per day since April 22. The active caseload is now nearly 35.5 lakh – more than three times the high recorded in September last year.
The numbers are frightening, but what should be just as worrying is the crisis that has engulfed the country’s healthcare system. Hospital are overflowing, doctors are traumatised and overworked, and relatives and friends of Covid patients are forced to fight – every day – for the lives of their loved ones.