The Health Ministry on Tuesday issued guidelines for bringing home the remains of confirmed or suspected COVID-19 patients but asserted that importation of human remains of such cases is not recommended.

However, according to the guidelines, if human remains of suspected or confirmed cases of coronavirus arrive into India, the airport health officer will verify the death certificate mentioning the cause of death, ‘No objection certificate’ for the transportation of human remains issued by Indian missions and embalming certificate issued by an authorized agency.

The airline shall ensure that the external packing of human remains (coffin) is undamaged and the airport health officer will verify the documents and inspect the packing in accordance with the provisions under the Indian Aircraft (Public Health) Rules, 1954.

“If there are any obvious signs of damage to the external packing, the handlers shall use full PPE, cover the coffin in plastic sheets to avoid any contact with the body/ body fluids before hand-over of the human remains to the concerned authority for final burial/incineration,” the guidelines stated.

The personnel handling the human remains should follow the laid down procedures for donning and doffing of personal protective equipment and follow other protective measures for COVID-19, like hand-washing with soap and water to ensure that they remain protected during the procedure.

The packaging (coffin) shall be buried/incinerated following the norms for burial/incineration for human remains with high risk pathogens. The handlers would be monitored for 28 days and the designated vehicle shall be disinfected.

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