Delhi govt issues SOP for handling of bodies of COVID-19 patients

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New Delhi, May 17 (PTI) The Delhi government on Sunday issued a standard operating procedure (SOP) for handling of dead bodies of COVID-19 patients.

The revised order on Sunday was in addition to an order issued by the AAP government last month on the basis of the guidelines given by the Centre.

The government has issued guidelines for deaths occurring in four scenarios -- death at hospital, death at a COVID care facility or testing centre, death at home or an unclaimed body.

According to the SOP, if the death occurs at a hospital or a COVID-19 patient is brought dead, the hospital will provide trained healthcare worker to handle the body. 'The hospital should provide a hearse van to carry the body to cremation/burial ground to ensure that no further infection is caused. A properly packed body will be handed over to relatives as per the government of India guidelines,' it said.

Incase no relative is available, a hospital should store the body in a mortuary after ensuring proper disinfection, the SOP said.

It said a hospital should decide whether to carry out autopsy or not. 'Hearse van used must be brought back to designated area in the district and disinfected as per the protocol before using it again,' it said.

Incase death occurs at a COVID care, COVID health centre or COVID testing centre, it will be managed by linked hospitals as if it has occurred at their hospital, except a hearse van will be provided by the district magistrate of the area to transport the body to a mortuary of the link COVID hospital and further for last rites, it aid. In the third scenario, if a patient succumbs to the deadly virus at home, the relatives of the deceased should immediately inform the office of the district magistrate of their area of jurisdiction.

'The district magistrate shall immediately inform the nearest hospital in the district. The district magistrate of the area shall provide a hearse van to carry the body to the hospital and thereafter to the cremation/burial to ensure that no infection is caused,' the SOP said.

A trained healthcare worker shall be provided by the designated hospital to the district magistrate for a hearse van. 'They will handle and pack the body ensuring proper disinfection as per the guidelines. The body will be brought to hospital for needful,' it said.

Incase of an unclaimed body found at a public place and if the death is not falling in any of the category of COVID-19 deaths, the body would be handled by the agencies like Delhi Police, local bodies, it said.

Delhi reported 19 fresh coronavirus deaths on Sunday and 422 new infections, taking the total to 148 fatalities and 9,755 cases, the authorities said.

In a bulletin issued on Sunday, the Delhi Health Department said with 19 more fatalities reported, the death toll from COVID-19 has risen to 148. PTI SLB KJ KJ