Delhi government fixes timeline for disposal of Covid-19 bodies
The Delhi government on Saturday directed Covid-designated hospitals in the city to arrange a funeral within 38 hours of a person dying of the infectious disease, to prevent bodies piling up in mortuaries
The order, issued by Delhi’s health secretary Padmini Singla, states that the hospital has to send the body of the Covid-19 patient or of those suspected to have the infection to the mortuary within two hours of the death. The family must contact the mortuary within 12 hours, after which the hospital has to arrange a cremation or burial within 24 hours, in consultation with the family.
The order comes days after HT reported that bodies were piling up inside the Lok Nayak hospital mortuary. On Tuesday, there were 108 bodies in the mortuary — 80 in storage racks and 28 on the floor.
The Delhi government on Friday also told the Delhi high court that they had taken urgent steps to ensure there was no delay in the disposal of the bodies of persons who died of Covid-19 or were suspected to have died of the disease.
As per the new guidelines for the disposal of Covid-19 bodies, if the family does not contact the mortuary within 12 hours, an intimation will be sent through the area station head officer (SHO) about the date, time, and place of the funeral, in consultation with the area municipal corporation to ensure that the family attend. The delivery of this intimation has to happen within 12 hours of receiving the message from the hospital. This date and time of the funeral has to be fixed in such a manner that the family gets at least 24 hours intimation.
So far, Delhi has recorded 416 Covid-19 deaths.
In case of abandoned or unidentified dead bodies, the order states that the Delhi Police has to complete all legal formalities within 72 hours, and the body has to be disposed of in another 24 hours.
For those whose address is outside Delhi, the medical director of the hospital has to send a message to the resident commissioner of the state or Union Territory, who will be asked to respond within 48 hours. If no reply is received, the body will be “cremated” in the next 24 hours, the order states.
The responsibility of timely disposal of dead bodies will lie with the medical director of the hospital where the person died, or where they were brought dead. The respective municipal corporation will help make arrangements for all such burial or cremation, the order states.