Foreigner Fights to get Mother's Body During Virus in China

Source: Khaleej Times

In a tragic turn of events, a Mumbai-based dentist is struggling to get back his deceased mother's body from coronavirus-hit China so that the family can perform her last rites.

Tragedy struck 35-year-old Puneet Mehra who was flying back to Mumbai from Australia with his 63-year-old mother Rita Mehra when she died of a heart attack mid-air. The Air China flight made an emergency landing at Zhengzhou Airport and the body was taken to a morgue there.

The incident happened three weeks ago, just days after China imposed a fierce lockdown in major cities in a bid to stop the spread of the deadly coronavirus. While Dr Mehra flew back to India, his mother's body is still in China hospital morgue for 24 days now.

"I don't understand where the problem is. I have written to the PM, the President and the External Affairs Minister's office but there is still no sign of my mother and we don't know when she will be brought back here," Dr Mehra was quoted as saying in NDTV.

The family hopes that the body is brought back to India from the Henan Province Provincial Hospital morgue in the special flight which India is sending to China with medical relief. The flight is scheduled to take off later this week.

While the Indian Embassy conveyed to the grieving family in a letter that due to the severe restrictions on funeral homes and movement in China in the wake of Coronavirus outbreak, the process may take time.

"The Chinese Government has taken unprecedented measures steps to control the epidemic, which is not willing to subside so far. In nutshell, it is not a normal and an ordinary time that China is facing," part of the letter from the Indian Embassy read.

"While it is going to be our earnest endeavour with the Chinese authorities to seek their indulgence in allowing the concession in the imposed regulations to allow the mortal remains to be transported to India, yet we cannot predict at this stage whether our pursuance would melt Chinese authorities," the official added.