Delhi Government has issued a revised order for disposal of bodies of COVID-19 patients or coronavirus suspected persons. No sample for COVID-19 test will be taken of the body. However, if doctors are satisfied with the clinical examination that the cause of death may be COVID-19 infection, the body may be released as suspected COVID-19 infected body.
A revised order issued by Government of NCT of Delhi stated that the fresh SOPs would be managed in accordance with the COVID-19 guidelines on body management issued by Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MOHFW), Government of India. The Standard Operating Procedures are to be followed if a person tests positive before death, a person found positive on the basis of the sample taken when he was alive, a person admitted to the hospital with severe symptoms of COVID-19 and doctors categorise him or her as a COVID-19 suspect.
Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for the following scenarios have been provided and all stakeholders have been directed to adhere to the same, the order said.
Scenario 1: If, Death occurred at a hospital or COVID-19 positive patient is brought dead:
"The hospital should provide a trained healthcare worker to handle and pack body. A hospital should provide hearse van to carry the body to the cremation or burial ground to ensure that no further infection is caused. A properly packed body will be handed over to the relatives as per Government of India guidelines," said the Delhi government.
"In case no relative is available, the hospital should store the body in the mortuary after ensuring proper disinfection of the body and the body bag as per the guidelines; Hospital should decide whether to carry out an autopsy or not. The hearse van used must be brought back to the designated area in the district and disinfected as per the protocol before using it again," it added.
Scenario 2: If, death occurred at COVID Care Centre, COVID Health Centre or COVID
Testing Centre of COVID positive person:
"It will be managed by the linked hospitals as if it has occurred at their hospital, except the hearse van will be provided by the District Magistrate of the area to transport the body to the mortuary of the link COVID Hospital and further for cremation or burial of the body. The hearse van so used would be disinfected at the designated area as per the protocol before using it again," it said.
Scenario 3: If, death occurs outside the Health Care Facility of a COVID-19 positive person at home:
"The relatives of the deceased should immediately inform the office of the District Magistrate of their area of jurisdiction. District magistrate shall immediately inform the nearest Hospital in the district. District Magistrate of the area shall provide hearse van to carry the body to the hospital and thereafter for cremation or burial to ensure that no infection is caused," said Delhi Government.
"Trained healthcare worker shall be provided by the designated hospital to District Magistrate for the hearse van. They will handle and pack the body ensuring proper disinfection of the body and body bag as per the guidelines. The body will be brought to the hospital for needful," it added.
Scenario 4: If unclaimed or otherwise a body found at a public place:
"If the death is not falling in any of the categories of COVID-19 infection death, the body would be handled by the agencies like Delhi Police or local civic bodies," it said.
In view of above, All DM/MS/MDs/Directors of the Hospitals and Delhi Police are
hereby directed to follow the above procedure to ensure protection from the spread of infection of COVID-19, the order read.