Shillong (Meghalaya) , Oct 28 :The following protocol/guidelines is issued for the disposal of dead bodies of COVID-19 suspects or confirmed case of COVID- 19 in accordance with the guidelines/protocol issued by the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare.
1. 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.
2. All present at the cremation/burial ground site will practice standard precautions of hand hygiene, use of surgical masks and gloves.
3. Large gathering at the crematorium/ 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.
4. 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.
5.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.
6. Bathing, kissing, hugging, etc. of the dead body should not be allowed.
7. The funeral/ burial staff or volunteers and family members should perform hand hygiene after cremation/ burial.
8. The depth of the burial grave should be about 6ft.
9. If cremated, the ashes do not pose any risk and can be collected to perform the last rites.
10.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.