In a touching culmination of a COVID-19 tragedy, a doctor in Peddapalli district drove a tractor to ferry the body of a 45-year-old to the burial ground on Sunday.

The heart-warming gesture by Pendyala Srinivasa Sriram, a video of which went viral on social media, came at a time when there have been instances of mishandling of COVID victims’ bodies across the country.

Clad in personal protective equipment (PPE), Dr. Sriram, who works at Peddapalli Government Hospital and is also the District COVID-19 Surveillance Officer, took to the wheels of a municipal tractor after its driver refused to carry the dead bodies to burial ground, fearing contamination. With no ambulance available, the hospital staff requested the municipality to provide a tractor to shift the body to burial ground, which was two kilometres away. The driver reached the spot, but after he learnt that a body of a man infected with the virus was to be shifted, he refused.

When Dr. Sriram came to know about the incident, he rushed to the spot, get up on the tractor and drove the body to the burial ground, accompanied by four family members. He even waited till the last rites were completed.

The doctor said there is a lack of awareness and knowledge about the infection and its spread. “When handled with proper PPE, the spread of virus can be checked. Generally, the bodies are disinfected and packed properly,” he added.

Since it was the first death at Peddapalli government hospital, the authorities did not know how to handle the bodies with standard operating procedure and were in a hurry to dispose of it.

But, Dr Sriram, being a passionate farmer, knew how to drive a tractor and helped the victim’s family cremate the body with dignity.

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