The situation of COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in a large number of infected people an increased deaths. As COVID-19 is a contagious disease, management of the bodies of deceased persons with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 must be done with caution.
Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) has set guidelines for handling the bodies of those who died from COVID-19 for cemetery and crematorium workers so that they can work properly without risk of infection and prevent the spread of pathogens to
go outside with the following steps:
- After mortuary staff prepared and placed the body in body bag and coffin according to the procedure, the transportation of the body to the crematorium must be carried out by a completely concealed vehicle, cleaned before and after. It is strictly forbidden to move the body from the casket and to open the body bag for bathing, makeup or injections. Funeral bathing rite is not allowed, only linking holy thread or cloth to the coffin can be done.
- Staff dealing with corpses must wear latex gloves, surgical facemask and disposable gown, without the need to wear PPE, as the external body bags are properly packed to prevent the spread of disease. After the handling/preparation of the body is done, all the materials and equipment used in the corpse management must be collected and disposed in a sealed infectious waste bin so that the agency responsible for waste disposal can further dispose them properly.
- When listening to the chant for blessing the dead person, all attendees must have their temperature checked and screened. Everyone must wear sanitary face masks, use alcohol-based hand sanitizer gel to wash their hands, and apply social distancing between people. The number of days to perform the ritual must be limited as deemed necessary.
- Cremation requires a non-polluting, double-chamber crematorium, comprising a cremation chamber and a smoke chamber. Before cremation, the smoke chamber must be heated to a temperature of at least 550°C. The temperature of 760°C in cremation chamber and 850°C in the smoke chamber must be controlled throughout the cremation. Once the cremation is completed, the disease has been destroyed.
The bones can be collected for merit making and the remaining ash can be disposed hygienically. As for the deceased who are Muslims, follow the Announcement of the Sheikhul Islam of Thailand on Measures to Prevent the Spread of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) No. 2/2563 dated March 21, 2020. Thanks the Health Department, Bangkok Metropolitan Administration, for information.