It was an unparalleled and rare gesture when a government doctor in Telangana stepped forward to drive a coronavirus victim's body to the crematorium after a driver feared he would contract the disease. The victim, a 45-year-old, who worked as a district surveillance officer, tested positive for COVID-19 on June 10 and passed away on Sunday in the Peddapalli district, after which Dr. Pendyala Sriram decided to climb aboard a tractor to transport the body of the deceased for his last rites. 

It is the first death linked to coronavirus in the Peddapalli government hospital although the district has so far recorded eight deaths. The death of the COVID-19 victim created a lot of panic among the people despite the staff at the hospital being well-trained to oversee the situation, Dr Sriram has stated to the media. He added that the driver was hesitant to drive the tractor out of fear of contracting COVID-19 although the municipal staff cooperated. 

Family members of the deceased were also said to be helpless in the situation owing to the guidelines barring them from coming close to the body. According to reports, the hospital does not have an ambulance with the district collector supplying them with PPE kits and body bags, which are being used. A video doing the rounds on social media shows the doctor driving the tractor along with some municipal staff to the cremation ground to bury the COVID-19 victim, which has gone viral with praises being showered on him for stepping up to the front to make sure the victim rests in peace in a dignified manner after his last rites are performed as per protocol. 

Telangana Finance Minister Harish Rao Thanneru took to his Twitter page to praise Dr Sriram calling him an "inspiration" for all those who are fighting against the coronavirus pandemic. His tweet read, "You’ve proved that humanity is still alive. You’re an inspiration to all of us who are fighting against Covid,". Dr Sriram has revealed to the media that he also shares an interest in agriculture and is a part-time farmer apart from being a government doctor, which allows him to serve people in need. 

Watch the video below of Dr Sriram driving the tractor to transport the coronavirus patient's body to the crematorium shared by the news agency ANI on Twitter: