No fear of contagion in cremation of corona-infected body, say experts

No fear of contagion in cremation of corona-infected body, say experts

Karam Prakash

Tribune News Service

Patiala, April 6

Amid the growing fear of infection during the cremation of Covid-19 infected cases, forensic experts said there was no chance of contagion if the protocol was followed.

Experts said there was a misconception that virus would remain on the ground or in the air following cremation of the Covid-19 patient.

Notably, last week, residents of Verka village in Amritsar district had refused the cremation of Padma Shri recipient and Hazoori Ragi Nirmal Singh, who died of

Covid-19 infection.

Experts said the main driver of Covid-19 transmission was only droplets. There was unlikely increased risk of virus infection from a dead body to health workers or family members, experts added.

“Before body is taken to the cremation ground it is sanitised by the health-staff and placed in a double-layered bag,” experts said.

“After the death of the Covid-19 patient, the mouth, nose and wounds if any are washed with 1 per cent sodium hypochlorite solution,” experts added.

“Thereafter, the body openings and wounds are dressed with impermeable material to prevent leakage of body fluids. The body then is placed in a leak-proof double-layered bag. The exterior of the body bag is decontaminated with 1 per cent hypochlorite,” experts said.

“Viewing dead body by unzipping the face end of the body bag by the staff using standard precautions is allowed for relatives for one last time,” experts added.

“However, bathing, kissing and hugging of the dead body should not be allowed,” experts said.

“For the sake of precaution, after cremation, the funeral staff and family members should wash their hands,” experts added.

Dr DS Bhullar, senior forensic medicine and toxicology expert of the Government Rajindra Hospital Patiala, said, “All the required protocol is being followed. Therefore, there is no chance of spread of the virus from dead body.”

“The cremation rituals are performed following all precautions of health experts. Therefore, there is no chance of spread of the virus while cremating Covid-19 patient,” he added.

Commenting on the post-cremation rituals, Bhullar said, “People who attend the cremation and rituals thereafter have no chance of contagion. Coronavirus in the body gets killed after cremation. Ashes don’t pose any risk and can be collected to perform the last rites.”

Dr Ashok Chanana, Professor, Government Medical College, Amritsar, said the government had already laid the protocol, which was duly followed by the health staff.

“People should trust doctors and experts and do not believe in rumors. If there is awareness, people won’t fear about cremation of the virus-infected patient,” he added.

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