Last glimpse of COVID-19 victim's face allowed, new guidelines out

Relaxing the health safety protocols, the Kerala government allowed relatives to have one last look at the faces of COVID-19 victims before the cremations or burials.

Health Minister KK Shailaja said only very close relatives of the dead will be allowed to see their deceased kin's faces.

Religious ceremonies for those who have died of the disease can be conducted in accordance with the existing norms.

The government has issued new guidelines that say the dead COVID victims should not be touched or bathed.

Various groups had demanded that religious ceremonies should be allowed for those who die of the disease.

The state has now said that the relatives of those who die of the infection can be shown the face prior to the last rites. It said the zip of the cover containing the body can be opened near the face for the next of kin to have a final look at the deceased.

Other religious rituals, such as reciting religious texts or mantras, can be performed by maintaining social distancing and without touching the body. The corpse should not be bathed or kissed.

People over 60 years of age, children under 10 years of age and those with other diseases should not come in direct contact with the corpse.

Only a few people should attend the funeral. The body can be buried or cremated by digging a hole that is deep.

The body should be taken to the cremation ground by making necessary preparations with the help of health workers.

The vehicle and the stretcher that carried the body should be disinfected after the completion of the funeral rites.

Duty and leave details of the employees of the cemeteries should be accurately recorded and maintained. Employees must comply with safety standards such as washing hands, wearing masks and gloves.

The guideline also states that those who take part in funerals must be kept under observation at their homes as directed by the Department of Health.

Till Friday, Kerala had recorded 1,281 COVID-19 deaths.