Delhi govt issues guidelines for handling bodies of Covid-19 casualtiesUpdated: Mar 26, 2020 13:04 IST
The Delhi government has notified guidelines for handling bodies of patients who died of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19).
The notification, issued late on Wednesday under the Epidemic Diseases Act of 1897, implies that legal action can be taken against those who don’t follow the guidelines.
Delhi has so far reported 35 Covid-19 positive cases and one death.
The guidelines say when a Covid-19 patient dies in a hospital, trained staff will pack the body, disinfect it and store it in the mortuary. A body will be carried in a hearse, accompanied by the health staff, to the crematorium or burial ground.
The hearse carriage must be disinfected after the last rites are carried out. The hospital, where a Covid-19 patient dies, can also decide whether a post-mortem is needed to be conducted or not.
There was confusion over a patient who died in a Delhi on Tuesday. The Union health ministry website initially cited the 60-year-old man’s case as Delhi’s second coronavirus death, but later it was clarified that he did not die due to Covid-19.
“In the case of the person...the confirmatory Covid-19 test came negative...But we did ask the deceased’s family members to maintain some social distance as a precautionary measure,” said an official from the hospital on condition of anonymity.
The notification also lists protocols in case a Covid-19 patient dies at home. To be sure, patients found to have contracted the deadly, contagious disease are treated at government-run isolation facilities. It was immediately not clear if the guidelines talked about suspected patients (or who they are) in this case.
The guidelines say the relatives of the deceased should immediately inform the district magistrate, who will then inform either Lok Nayak Hospital or Rajiv Gandhi Superspecialty Hospital.
The hospitals will provide trained staff to pack, disinfect and handle the body. The hospital will also provide a hearse carriage to carry the body to the crematorium or burial ground.