Finally, Kerala priest's body buried amid protests in Thiruvananthapuram

Finally, Kerala priest's body buried amid protests in Thiruvananthapuram
Fr KG Varghese's burial at Kumarapuram Orthodox Church cemetery grounds

The body of a priest, who tested coronavirus positive just ahead of his death while undergoing treatment after an accident, was buried at the Kumarapuram Orthodox Church cemetery following COVID protocols on Thursday.

Earlier, these protocols prohibited KG Varghese's body from being interred at the local cemetery vaults as was the custom. The funeral was then decided to be held at the church's burial grounds at Nalanchira. However, this was shifted after locals raised objections.

KG Varghese's family had expressed consent to cremate the body. Orthodox Diocese Head Dr Gabriel Mar Gregorios too sought to find a solution to the issue.

With the successful intervention of Thiruvananthapuram Mayor K Sreekumar and Vattiyoorkavu MLA VK Prashant, the protests were quelled and the burial was done at the Kumarapuram church cemetery on Thursday.

The burial was stalled for several hours in wake of the protests.

Fr Varghese (77) breathed his last on Tuesday at Thiruvananthapuram Medical College. He was admitted after a bike accident and later experienced acute breathing difficulties. 

It is still unclear from where Fr Varghese contracted the disease. Health officials are carrying out contact tracing procedures. Two wards of Peroorkada district hospital where Fr Varghese was treated have now been shut.

The doctor and healthcare workers who treated him at the Thiruvananthapuram Medical College hospital have been moved into quarantine. However, the wards and intensive care units here have not been closed yet. 

After the bike accident, Fr Varghese was undergoing treatment since April 20.

Fr Varghese is the twelfth person to succumb to the COVID-19 in Kerala.

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