M’laya issues fresh guidelines for disposal of COVID dead bodies

Correspondent Shillong, Oct 28 | Publish Date: 10/28/2020 1:10:04 PM IST

The Meghalaya government on Wednesday has notified revised protocol for the disposal of dead bodies of COVID-19 suspects or confirmed cases.

Commissioner and Secretary Health and Family Welfare Department, Sampath Kumar said that the new guidelines are in accordance with those issued by the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.

"COVID-19 is mainly transmitted through droplets.  Therefore, there is less likelihood for an increased risk of COVID infection from a dead body to health workers or family members or volunteers who follow standard precautions while handling the body,” Kumar stated.

The new protocols also stated that all present at the cremation/burial ground site will practice standard precautions of hand hygiene, use of surgical masks and gloves.

The revised notification also urged the public to avoid large gatherings at the crematorium/ burial ground as it is possible that close family contacts may be symptomatic and/or shedding the virus.

However, the department has allowed the viewing of the dead body by unzipping the face end of the body bag (by those performing the burial/cremation using standard precautions), for the relatives to see the body for one last time.

“Religious rituals such as reading from religious scripts, sprinkling holy water and any other last rites that do not require touching of the body can be allowed. But bathing, kissing, hugging, of the dead body is not allowed," the notification specified.

Moreover, the notification specified that the depth of the burial grave should be about 6 feet, and if cremated, the ashes do not pose any risk and can be collected to perform the last rites.

“The vehicle, after the transfer of the body to cremation/ burial staff, will need to be decontaminated with 1 % Sodium Hypochlorite (available in pharmacies). This can also be safely done by those who carry the dead body,” the notification stated. 

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