The Naveen Patnaik-led Odisha government has allowed the authorities to conduct the last rites of COVID-19 suspects without waiting for the test reports, to avoid the delay, said the officials.
The state government on Monday, July 27, issued a notification after noticing that the cremation of bodies was being delayed as the officials waited for the COVID-19 test reports of such victims.
According to reports, an incident in the state's coronavirus hotspot, Ganjam district was also the reason for such a move. The body of police personnel was allegedly abandoned at the hospital and was left unattended because his corona test report was awaited.
"It is clarified that as we are in the midst of a global pandemic, as a measure of abundant precaution, in all such cases the dead body may be disposed of as per COVID norms, in compassionate consultation with the family of the deceased," Additional Chief Secretary of Health Department PK Mohapatra said in the letter to all district collectors and municipal corporation commissioners.
The additional chief secretary also said the new norm will reduce the trauma faced by the grieving family and there will be no delay in disposal of the body.
The notification further clarified that if a suspected COVID-19 patient under treatment or quarantine dies before his swab can be tested, the body may be disposed of as per the COVID norms without insisting on the test report. Adding, the body shall be handled and transported in a "decent" manner.
The guidelines also said that while disposing the body at the crematorium or the burial ground, the family members of the victim may be allowed to perform the last rites according to their religious faith without touching the body, maintaining a minimum safe distance and following standard hygienic precautions.