A maximum of 20 persons are allowed to visit while the body is kept at the residence

Shillong, May 05:  In partial modification, the Protocol/Guidelines for the disposal of dead bodies of COVID-19 suspects or confirmed case of COVID-19, issued vide Notification No. Health.114/2020/46 dated 28-4-2021 (following the guidelines and protocol issued by the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, Government of India.

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 body.

The body after having been sealed as per the protocols/instructions and transferred to the coffin can be taken to the residence of the deceased person. However, the coffin is not to be taken inside the house but to be kept outside and such arrangements are to be made by the relatives of the deceased.

A maximum of 20 persons are allowed to visit while the body is kept at the residence of the deceased person. In case there is space constraint then the coffin is to be taken directly to the burial or cremation ground. Burial or cremation shall be done on the same day or latest by 2.00 P.M. of the following day of the death. Any undue delays shall be completely avoided.

All present at the house of the deceased person/cremation/burial ground site will practice standard precautions of hand hygiene, use of surgical masks and gloves. 4. Large gathering at the crematorium and  burial ground should be avoided as a social distancing measure as it is possible that close family contacts may be symptomatic and/or shedding the virus.

Only a maximum of 30 members are allowed at any given point of time to visit the deceased in an open environment. 5. Viewing of the dead body by unzipping the face end of the body bag (by those performing the burial/cremation using standard precautions) maybe allowed, 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 does not require touching of the body can be allowed. 7. Bathing, kissing, hugging, etc. of the dead body should not be allowed.

The funeral and  burial staff or volunteers and family members should perform hand hygiene after cremation/ burial. The depth of the burial grave should be about 6 ft. 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.

It has come to then notice that even non-covid funerals have tend to become events of COVID spread. Any funeral in the State shall have a minimum gathering and the deceased shall be buried or cremated at the earliest possible time. The gathering also should De limited so as to avoid any serious transmission of the virus.

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