Guidelines on burial of COVID-19 victims released: Health Ministry

Guidelines on burial of COVID-19 victims released: Health Ministry

Guidelines on burial of COVID-19 victims released: Health Ministry

Written by Pavani Hapuarachchi

04 Mar, 2021 | 11:41 am

COLOMBO (News 1st): The Ministry of Health on Wednesday night (Mar. 04), released the guidelines with regard to the burial of COVID-19 victims.

According to the guidelines titled, “Standard Operational Procedure (SOP) in Transportation and Deaths of Infected with COVID-19,” a set of instructions approved by the Ministry of Health should be followed in respect of the COVID-19 burials permitted at the Iranaitivu Island.

The guidelines are categorized under the three processes of:
01. Preparation and approvals for transportation
02. Procedure prior to transportation
03. Transportation of the corpse

Preparation and Approvals for Transportation:

01. The relatives of the deceased should inform the Director/ Head of Health Care Institution in the respective area where the death has occurred, of their desire to bury the corpse without delay.

02. The Director/ Head of Health Care Institution should make arrangements to include the place of burial as Iranaitivu Island in death declaration form by coordinating with the nominee of Director-General of Health Services (DGHS). Thereby, this document could be used to transport the corpse from hospital and for a legitimate burial.

03. The Director of the institution should inform the date and time of dispatch of the corpse to the relatives and advise them to provide the coffin as soon as possible.

04. It is the duty of the Director/ Head of health care institution to transport the corpse in a coffin provided by the relatives to a designated location in Colombo Institute of Forensic Medicine and Toxicology (office of JMO Colombo)/ BH Welikanda where the corpse will be received by the designated officer. This needs to be coordinated with the nominee of Ministry of Health.

05. The vehicle transporting the corpse to “Nachchikuda pier” will leave daily at 5:30 am from the designated receiving center nominated by the DOHS. Corpse carried by authorized personal will be handed over to respective authority at the “Nachchikuda pier” which is supervised by the area MOH/ representative PHI. Burial will take place by the facilitation and coordination of the Police/Security personal at an Island earmarked by the Government of Sri Lanka in the presence of two relatives, MOH/ his representative PHI of the area of burial.

Procedure prior to Transportation:

01. The relatives need to provide a coffin in advance.

02. Before departure of the corpse, designated health staff of the hospital wearing PPE should bring the corpse from the pre designated area to the viewing area for relatives to view the corpse. Religious activities are permitted only at this point according to the guidelines provided by DGHS. Upon completion of the above activities, the corpse is taken by the designated health staff of the hospital (wearing appropriate PPE) and place the corpse inside the coffin provided by the relatives. The corpse inside the coffin is placed in the transportation carriage and hand over to MOH/ representative PHI and police to be carried to the designated place of receiving corpses in Colombo. The driver and supporting personal of the corpse carriage must wear appropriate PPE. The relatives or unauthorized persons are not permitted to obtain photographs, video and video calls in the health care institution/s.

Transportation of the corpse:

01. Two of the relatives who visited the hospital where death has occurred and identified the deceased, allowed to be present at the Nachchikuda pier in the Kilinochchi district on the following day for witnessing the burial at Iranaitivu island. This needs to be coordinated with the nominee of Ministry of Health (see below for contact information). However, they should not be patients infected with COVID-19. Quarantine persons are only permitted under strict guidance and approval of the MOH/ Regional Epidemiologist. They should adhere to standard infection control measures. At the final destination, the corpse inside the coffin is received by the area MOH/ representative PHI of the area of burial.

02. After receiving the corpse, it will be taken to the site of burial by the designated officers with necessary health precautions. Only two relatives are permitted to be present at the burial along with area MOH, representative PHI along with Police and security personal handling the burial process.

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