Coronavirus: K'taka govt issues protocol for funeral procedures

04:36 PM Mar 14, 2020 | Team Udayavani |
Bengaluru: A 76-year-old man who died two days ago in Karnataka while being treated for suspected coronavirus has become India's first COVID-19 fatality. After his death, Karnataka government has come up with protocols to be followed during the funeral procedure. State Health Minister Sri Ramulu in his tweet said, “The 76-year-old man from Kalburgi who passed away & was a suspected #COVID19 patient has been confirmed for #COVID19. The necessary contact tracing, isolation & other measures as per protocol are being carried out.” Speaking on the issue, Commissioner of Health Department, Pankaj Kumar Pandey said, “This is the first death that has happened and we are following WHO protocols for body disposal. But we must also respect the religious sentiments of people. In the case of the 76-year-old man, he was buried and his body was disinfected before burial. It was done by health workers in the presence of district officials. His family members were allowed to be present at a safe distance. The graveyard was sanitized as well” State Joint Director, Dr Prakash said that the dead bodies do not generally need to be disinfected before disposal except in cases where the infection is severe. Since COVID-19 is a pandemic, disinfecting the body is protocol. According to Dr Prakash, the team handling dead bodies should wear protective gear and wash their hands with soap and disinfectant after touching the body. Sources claim that the government wanted to ensure the dead must be respected at all times and keeping that in mind, certain protocols have been issued for burials as certain religious communities do not cremate their loved ones who die. However, crematoriums will be disinfected after the cremation process. In case the dead body is not being cremated, the health officials are supposed to ensure that the burial does not lead to contamination of drinking water. • The health workers must ensure that the graves must be at least 30m away from the ground water source. • The bottom of a grave must be at least 1.5 m above the water table in addition to having a 0.7 m unsaturated zone. • Surface water from graveyards must not be disposed off in inhabited areas which means that water used in graveyards which later flows out as sewage must not mix with municipal sewage. • Health workers must take precautions for disposal of gloves, body bags and disinfect the vehicles and equipment used while transporting the body from the isolation units to the graveyard.

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