A 75-year-old coronavirus patient, declared dead last week, in West Bengal’s North 24 Parganas district returned to his family, a day before they were to perform his final rites, reported The Indian Express on Monday.

Shibdas Banerjee was declared dead on November 13, nine days after he was admitted to Balrampur Basu Hospital in Khardah area. On Friday, the man’s family was informed that he was still alive as they were preparing for the “shraddh” ceremony.

A four-member inquiry panel has been set up and the district health department has begun an investigation. “The inquiry committee’s report has been sent to the state health department,” District Chief Medical Officer of Health Tapas Roy told the newspaper. Officials said the body that was cremated was of 75-year-old Mohinimohan Mukherjee, who was admitted to the hospital on the same day as Banerjee.

Mukherjee was transferred to the Covid-19 hospital in Barasat on November 7. But the medical records that were sent over to the hospital belonged to Banerjee. Following this, when Mukherjee died due to the disease, Banerjee’s family was informed and the body was handed over to them. Due to Covid-19 protocol measures, the family could not see the face of the body that was handed over to them, reported the Hindustan Times.

On the other hand, Mukherjee’s son, Sandip Mukherjee was shocked to see a different person at the hospital where his father was supposed to be admitted. “The hospital authorities realised that they had made a faux pas and informed Banerjee’s family,” he said.

The Bharatiya Janata Party’s Bengal unit chief Dilip Ghosh claimed that such incidents can only happen in this state, and accused the government of conducting fewer tests in a day to keep the case count low, according to PTI. “Our neighbouring states like Bihar, Odisha, and Uttar Pradesh are testing over one lakh of tests whereas they [the West Bengal government] are keeping it to 45,000 because they want to suppress the fact.”

West Bengal has 25,207 active cases, 4,23,129 recoveries, and 8,025 people have died so far due to the coronavirus.

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