BHAKTAPUR, Nepal — When the new mother died in the hospital last month — the first person to succumb to COVID-19 in Nepal — her days-old baby was moved to an isolation ward.But the woman’s body remained. Ambulance drivers and hospital workers, fearful of the contagion, refused to move the corpse from the hospital morgue to the crematorium, where it could be burned in keeping with Hindu tradition.And so authorities called upon RNA-16 — three men and a woman in signature blue vests, renowned for their selfless volunteer work in Bhaktapur, a UNESCO world heritage site known as the “city of temples” just east of the capital, Kathmandu.RNA-16 stands for “Rescue and Awareness” and the 16 kinds of disasters they have prepared to deal with, from Nepal’s devastating 2015 earthquake to road accidents. But their unique services in the epidemic amount to a much greater sacrifice, said doctors, hospital officials and civic leaders.“They are truly our heroes and doing work that no one is willing to do. When even health workers are scared, they have dared to help people in the pandemic,” said Kiran Thapa, a city council member.They have received financial support from businesses, and have been lauded by


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