Bhubaneswar: At a time when more number of people are succumbing to COVID-19 virus, the Odisha government today allowed family members of the patients who died of the disease to participate in the funeral.
While issuing fresh guidelines on disposal of bodies of persons died due to the disease, the government said family members can perform the last rites of a person died of COVID-19 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 and gloves and no spitting in public place. Bathing, kissing and hugging of the body are strictly prohibited.
According to the guidelines issued by the Special Relief Commissioner Pradeep Jena to District Collectors and Municipal Commissioners, if family member(s) of the COVID-19 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
The guidelines further directed the district administrations and civic body officials that the dead body shall be handled and transported in a decent manner.
“The family members may be allowed to collect the ash after cremation for performance of last rites. Not more than 20 persons shall be allowed in the funeral function including the priest and member(s), support agency(ies), if any,” the guidelines stated.
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. In case the religion/ sect of the person is not known, either of the procedure may be followed for disposal of the dead body, the guidelines read.
The district administrations and civic body officials were also asked to follow all other conditions contained in the “COVID-I9: GUIDELINES ON DEAD BODY MANAGEMENT” issued by the MoHFW.
Earlier, the Odisha government had sanctioned Rs 7,500 per deceased towards expenditure for disposal of dead body of COVID-l9 suspect or confirmed cases.