Corona: Guidelines for body disposal of different faiths issued

Hyderabad: The Telangana government has issued guidelines for handling disposal of bodies of Covid-19 fatalities belonging to the Hindu and Christian faiths.

Packing and shifting of dead bodies to the burial ground will be done by designated persons in the hospital vehicles

The additional guidelines, dated on Tuesday, have been prepared by the committee set up on April 1 by the state government for the purpose.

Only 5 persons are allowed to visit the burial or cremation ground

While there are guidelines in place since April 2, these have been applied largely to Muslim victims, in Telangana, where the death toll has touched 11. Although details of the victims’ community are not divulged, it is understood that one of the 11 victims is a non-Muslim.

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Safe distance has to be maintained in all cases

To avoid confusion, officials said that the state government opted to formulate separate guidelines for body disposal for each community.

Officials said that although specific guidelines have been issued for the different communities, the handling of dead bodies will essentially be the same in respect of all religions. In all cases, it is specified that packing and shifting of dead bodies to the burial ground will be done by designated persons in the hospital vehicles. Only 5 persons are allowed to visit the burial or cremation ground, no handling of bodies is allowed, and safe distance has to be maintained in all cases.

Hindu victims are to be cremated, while Muslims and Christian COVID-19 victims will be buried as per their religious practices

However, in accordance with religious tenets, Hindu victims are to be cremated, while Muslims and Christian COVID-19 victims will be buried as per their religious practices.

The state has reported 12 COVID-19 deaths so far.

In the wake of coronavirus outbreak, the Telangana government on Wednesday issued guidelines on procedure to dispose of dead bodies of Hindus/Christians who are either suspected or confirmed of COVID-19.

“The suspect or positive COVID-19 deceased is to be prepared in accordance with the Hindu/Christian tradition i.e., cleaning of the body and wrapping in white cloth. Family members (not more than three persons) are permitted to see the body in the hospital at any point of time through a protected glass window and they are not allowed to enter into mortuary or come into contact with the deceased,” Arvind Kumar, Municipal Administration and Urban Development (MA&UD) Secretary told ANI over the phone.

He said the body will be covered with a plastic sheet ensuring that the face is visible.

“The body will be placed in a leak-proof zip bag which must have a transparent section for viewing the face of the deceased. Commissioner, GHMC shall keep the agency/ body handlers with requisite expertise ready along with transport mechanism and full PPE/COVID safety material/ power spraying cans with all required material inside the vehicle,” Kumar said.

He said every hospital – government or private – shall designate a responsible person as the COVID Liaison Officer (CLO).

The official said a committee of designated officials will meet daily and smoothen the issues.

Kumar said that during the transit from hospital to the graveyard, no family or relatives will be allowed in the vehicle which is carrying the COVID dead body.

He said family members or relatives who express the need to attend the last rites will be restricted to five and they will reach through their own transport strictly with masks and gloves given by the hospital.

Kumar said that the body will be strictly transported in proper COVID dedicated ambulance to the graveyard by dedicated four body handlers.
He said on reaching the graveyard, the body is to be lifted to the cremation spot by four body handlers only.

There will be video recording of the entire process beginning from transportation till the cremation of the COVID-19 body.

The body handlers need to spray sodium hypochlorite (1 per cent) on their PPE and the vehicle.

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