New Delhi: Minutes after the centre announced the extension of lockdown across the country, the government of Delhi on Sunday issued a standard operating procedure (SOP) for the handling of dead bodies of COVID-19 patients. Also Read - Coronavirus Pandemic: Beijing Says Wearing Masks Outdoors Not Necessary

Revising its old order, which was passed last month, the Delhi government issued fresh guidelines for deaths occurring in four scenarios — death at the hospital, death at a COVID care facility or testing centre, death at home or an unclaimed body. Also Read - Coronavirus: Assam, Gujarat Release Thousands of Prisoners to Decongest Jails

As per the SOP, the Delhi government said that if the death occurs at a hospital or a COVID-19 patient is brought dead, the hospital will provide trained healthcare worker to handle the body.

“The hospital should provide a hearse van to carry the body to cremation/burial ground to ensure that no further infection is caused. A properly packed body will be handed over to relatives as per the government of India guidelines,” it said.

The SOP further stated that in case no relative is available, a hospital should store the body in a mortuary after ensuring proper disinfection. It also said that the hospital should decide whether to carry out autopsy or not.

“Hearse van used must be brought back to a designated area in the district and disinfected as per the protocol before using it again,” it said.

The SOP also stated that in case death occurs at a COVID care, COVID health centre or COVID testing centre, it will be managed by linked hospitals as if it has occurred at their hospital, except a hearse van will be provided by the district magistrate of the area to transport the body to a mortuary of the link COVID hospital and further for last rites.

In the third scenario, if a patient succumbs to the deadly virus at home, the relatives of the deceased should immediately inform the office of the district magistrate of their area of jurisdiction.

“The district magistrate shall immediately inform the nearest hospital in the district. The district magistrate of the area shall provide a hearse van to carry the body to the hospital and thereafter to the cremation/burial to ensure that no infection is caused,” the SOP said.

The Delhi government said a trained healthcare worker shall be provided by the designated hospital to the district magistrate for a hearse van.

“They will handle and pack the body ensuring proper disinfection as per the guidelines. The body will be brought to the hospital for needful,” it said.

In case of an unclaimed body found at a public place and if the death is not falling in any of the categories of COVID-19 deaths, the body would be handled by the agencies like Delhi Police, local bodies.

The SOP from the Delhi government comes at a time when a total of 148 fatalities and 9,755 cases were reported in the national capital.

(With inputs from PTI)