COVID burial guidelines circulars issued

2021-03-03 at 22:18

Two circulars have been issued detailing the necessary guidelines to conduct burials of COVID-19 victims in the country.

The Ministry of Health issued the guidelines this evening.

Circular 01:

http://www.health.gov.lk/moh_final/english/public/elfinder/files/feturesArtical/2021/SOPtrasportBurial.pdf

Circular 02:

http://www.health.gov.lk/moh_final/english/public/elfinder/files/feturesArtical/2021/AutopsyPracticeDisposalofcorpse.pdf

The Ministry of Health has issued revised guidelines on the disposal of the bodies of persons who succumb to COVID-19 detailing burial requirements, after the government decided to reverse its strict ‘cremation only’ policy for COVID-19 victims.

The Ministry of Health issued the Standard Operational Procedure in Transportation and Burial of Deaths Infected with COVID-19 and a circular detailing the “Autopsy Practice and Disposal of a corpse infected with COVID-19” yesterday.

The circular will provide standard guidance on the autopsy and disposal of persons who pass away due to COVID-19 or are infected with COVID-19.

Based on individual requests of close relatives, the remains of the deceased are allowed to be cremated or buried.

According to the circular, cremations or burials should be carried out within 24 hours after issuing the documents pertaining to the release of the corpse by the appointed authority.

The corpse should not be handed over to relatives and should never be washed or embalmed.

The corpses should be minimally handled throughout the procedure.

It is advised to have the disposition at the closest crematorium, designated cemetery or designated burial site by the Director General of Health Services.

Unidentified or unclaimed bodies will be disposed at the expense of the government and the method of disposal will be cremation.

Burials will take place by the facilitation and coordination of the Police or security personnel at an Island earmarked by the government in the presence of two relatives, Medical Officer of Health, a representative or Public Health Inspector of the area of burial.

The government has chosen Iranaitivu Island, as the burial site for the bodies of COVID victims.

According to the circular the vehicle transporting the corpse to the “Nachchikuda pier” in Kilinochchi will leave daily at 5.30am from the designated receiving centre nominated by the Director General of the Health Services.

The corpse carried by authorized personnel will be handed over to respective authorities at the “Nachchikuda pier” which is supervised by the area Medical Officer of Health or Public Health Inspector.

After receiving the corpse, it will be taken to the site of burial by the designated officers with necessary health precautions.

Only two relatives will be permitted to be present at the burial along with the stipulated authorities including Police and security personal handling the burial process.

Two of the relatives who visited the hospital where the death occurred and identified the deceased, will be allowed to be present at the Nachchikuda pier in the Kilinochchi district on the following day for witnessing the burial at Iranaitivu island.