Bhubaneswar, The Odisha government on Saturday allowed family members of the patients who died of COVID-19 to participate in the funeral.
In a letter, Special Relief Commissioner (SRC) Pradeep Kumar Jena said while disposing of the body at the crematorium or burial ground, the family members may be allowed to perform the last rites according to their religion or faith without touching the body.
He said the family members need to maintain minimum safe distance from the body and following standard hygienic precautions, such as hand hygiene, use of mask and gloves, no spitting in public place.
The SRC said if family members of the patient wish to have a glimpse of the body at the time of removal from the isolation room or area, they may be allowed to do so with the application of standard precautions.
However, if the family members do not wish to take paft in cremation/ burial of the dead body of the COVID-19 suspect/ confirmed case, the body may be disposed of in their absence following the method of disposal as per custom of the religion/ sect to which the person belonged to, he added.
The letter of the state government came hours after the dead body of a police officer from Ganjam district was kept outside a hospital for several hours.
Assistant sub-Inspector of police Rabindranath Behera died on Friday evening at Kodala community health centre in Ganjam. His antigen test showed positive for COVID-19.
The cop’s body wrapped in a cloth was left unattended outside the hospital for a day as no one was ready to touch the body fearing coronavirus infection, said sources.
Even his family members refused to accept the body apprehending infection.
However, two journalists with the help of hospital staff wearing PPEs volunteered and kept the body in a coffin.
Ganjam’s Superintendent of Police Brijesh Ray informed that the local police officials and other government officials gave a guard of honour to the policeman at the funeral on Saturday.