A section of government doctors in West Bengal has urged Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee to allow use of mobile phones by non-critical COVID-19 patients in their wards to ease their mental stress and permit family members of those who died of the disease to pay their last respects.
The Association of Health Service Doctors has made a representation to the chief minister, saying that if a patient is "clinically stable", the person should be allowed to use mobile handsets in the ward.
Referring to the cremation of COVID-19 victims at an isolated place in the absence of family members, the association said the near ones of deceased should not be denied to pay their last respects.
"The close ones of the deceased should be granted permission to be present during the funeral," the association's general secretary Manas Gumta said in the letter.
Meanwhile, the West Bengal health department has decided to allow relatives of a person who died due to coronavirus infection to see the body after following certain protocols.
Family members of coronavirus victims are not handed over the bodies and also not allowed to see it.
However, in the changed norm also, relatives will not get the body and the last rites will be performed by local civic authorities, a health department official said, adding that the new system will begin soon.
The doctors' body also recommended a fixed schedule of video-conference to enable patient members to communicate with their loved ones.
A simple mechanism should be developed for the daily update of the patients' health condition in case of unavailability of mobile phones in COVID-19 wards, the organisation said.