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Here’s all you need to know about burial of Covid-19 victims

Kenya’s government has taken charge of the interment process of the first patient to succumb to the coronavirus in accordance to World Health Organisation (WHO) directives regarding the deadly Covid-19 casualties.

Addressing the media on Friday, the Ministry of Health divulged that the late Engineer Maurice Barasa Namiinda will not undergo postmortem to protect the pathologist from the risk of contracting the virus.

According to the ministry, the body of the late Namiinda is in the government’s custody awaiting appropriate time to be handed over to his relatives in Nairobi and Bungoma County.

“We will ensure that by the time the body is handed over to them, it is safe for burial, according to their culture and practices,” said an official from the ministry.

The late engineer, who was also battling diabetes, succumbed to the Covid-19 on Thursday while in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) at the Aga Khan Hospital in Nairobi.

This comes even as research by scientists is still at the infancy stage to establish the risk posed by persons who have recently died from the deadly virus which has caused havoc across the world.

Some of the worst hit countries such as Spain and Italy have resorted to cremating the bodies of casualties of the virus.

In attempts to arrest the spread of the novel coronavirus, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has put in place measures for the safe management of the victims’ bodies as well as their burial.

According to WHO, where the bodies necessitate an autopsy, personnel need reinforced respiratory gear while conducting the aerosol-generating since the coronavirus may still be inside the lungs and other internal organs.

Moreover, mortuaries should adhere to high levels of hygiene and adequate ventilations at all times with constant disinfection, but embalming is not encouraged as it may involve too much exposure to the body.

Furthermore, close family, relatives and friends may be allowed to view the body after it has been fully prepared in accordance to their traditions.

However, no touching or kissing of the body is allowed and those who view the body are expected to thoroughly wash their hands with soap and water promptly.

In addition, those who lower the body in the grace are required to put on gloves and proceed to thoroughly wash their hands with soap and water once they remove the gloves after completing the task.