Ramakanta Biswas

Bhubaneswar: The Odisha government on Saturday announced a significant change in the management of dead bodies of Covid-l9 patients by allowing the bereaved family members to see the bodies of their loved ones, who succumb to the virus.

In a letter to all Collectors & Municipal Corporations, the Special Relief Commissioner (SRC) ordered, "If family member(s) of the patient wish(es) to view the body at the time of removal from the isolation room or area, they may be allowed to do so with the application of standard precautions.”

Similarly, the government has laid down several other guidelines to be followed during handling and disposal of COVID19 bodies.

-While disposing the dead body at the crematorium/burial ground, the family members may be allowed to perform the last rites according to their religion/faith without touching the body, maintaining minimum safe distance from the body and following standard hygienic precautions, such as hand hygiene, use of mask & gloves, no spitting in public place,” the notification added.

-However, activities like bathing, kissing and hugging of the body are strictly prohibited.

-After the cremation, the family members will be allowed to collect the ash for performance of last rites.

-The dead body shall be handled and transported in a decent manner.

-Not more than 20 persons shall be allowed in the funeral function including the priest and
member(s), support agency(ies), if any.

-However, if the family members do not wish to take part in cremation/burial of the dead body of the Covid-19 suspect/confirmed case, the dead body may be disposed of in their absence following the method of disposal, such as cremation or burial, as per custom of the religion/ sect to which the person belonged to. If the religion/ sect of the person is not known, either of the procedure may be followed for disposal of the dead body.

Notably, the State government has announced Rs 7,500 per deceased towards expenditure for disposal of dead body of Covid-l9 suspect/confirmed cases.

(Edited By Bikram Keshari Jena)

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