by Linda Straker
- People who have died from Covid-19 can be buried or cremated
- Cremation seen as safer option
- 3 individuals have died between Monday, 30 August and Wednesday, 1 September
Surviving family, relatives, and friends of any individual whose death is classified as Covid-19 related, will not be able to view the body before or on the day of burial or cremation.
People who have died from Covid-19 can be buried or cremated, but worldwide most undertakers are recommending cremation because it is seen as the safer option. An article published in May 2021 in the International Journal of Infectious Disease said that little data is available on the subject about the length of time SARS-CoV-2 remain in the corpse, but the genome was found in the corpse of an exhumed infected person, one month after the death. “The viral gene targets were still present in her lungs and heart; however, the virus was no longer alive,” said the article.
“Family and friends may view the body after it has been prepared for burial, in accordance with customs. They should not touch or kiss the body and should wash hands thoroughly with soap and water after the viewing. Those tasked with placing the body in the grave, on the funeral pyre, etc., should wear gloves and wash hands with soap and water after removal of the gloves once the burial is complete,” said the WHO guidelines for the burial of Covid-19 bodies, which were published shortly after the pandemic was declared.
One undertaker explained that the body of an individual whose death certificate says ‘Covid-19 related’ is placed in a special leak-proof plastic body bag inside a special refrigerator while arrangements are made for final rites. “At the start of the pandemic we did not have that refrigerator but now we have one to place the body of Covid-19 related deaths,” said Thomas La Qua. Those tasked with placing the body in the grave, on the funeral pyre, etc., should wear gloves and wash hands with soap and water after removal of the gloves once the burial is complete.
Grenada is presently experiencing an outbreak of Covid-19, and 3 individuals have died between Monday, 30 August and Wednesday, 1 September. It is not yet known if the families will cremate or have a traditional burial.
Grenada’s first Covid-19 related death was in January 2021, and that individual was cremated.
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