ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka is yet to record a death by the COVID19 disease but Judicial Medical Officers (JMO) across the country have been sent Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) to be followed if a patient in a hospital succumbs to the coronavirus.
The remains of all those who pass away from this disease will be cremated within 24 hours regardless of their faith according to the SOP.
A document seen by EconomyNext and authenticated by the JMO Department says that an inquest and an autopsy would not be necessary as the death will occur in an Intensive Care Unit or some special unit set aside for the purpose.
The procedures are similar to any other disease considered highly contagious.
The bodies need to be bagged and disinfected, and a limited time given to close family members to view the remains. The viewing has to take place only inside the hospital premises and the relatives are to be given masks.
Only the face of the deceased will be uncovered.
No touching of the body will be permitted, the SOPs say.
After that, the remains should be handed over to the funeral directors.
Embalming is strictly prohibited as the process may endanger the staff of the funeral home, and possibly cause further spread of the disease.
Funeral homes will be expected to immediately bag the body and place it in a coffin which will be sealed.
The sealed coffin can be placed in a parlour or a home only for religious rituals.
Mass gatherings and funeral functions are not permitted and the SOP calls for the remains to be cremated within 24 hours of the death.
On Monday morning according to the Ministry of Health, there were 87 patients confirmed as having the disease in government hospitals with 2 listed in critical condition at the National Institute of Infectious Diseases (IDH).
Four are listed as recovered but only one, a Chinese tourist has been discharged. (Colombo, March 23, 2020)