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Revised guidelines no more stipulates mandatory COVID-19 test for post-mortem examination 

The new guidelines say that if at all there is a strong clinical suspicion that the dead person had died of COVID-19, a rapid antigen test (RAT) would suffice

January 25, 2023 09:30 pm | Updated January 26, 2023 10:45 am IST

The Health department has issued revised guidelines, avoiding the earlier requirement of mandatory COVID-19 test before post-mortem examination can be done on the body of a dead person in the State.

The guidelines were revised keeping in mind the steady drop in COVID-19 cases in the State, a statement issued by the Health department said.

The new guidelines say that if at all there is a strong clinical suspicion that the dead person had died of COVID-19, a rapid antigen test (RAT) would suffice to ensure the same before post-mortem examination is done.

During post-mortem examination, all health workers should maintain all universal precautions such as donning PPE kits, N95 masks, gloves, and face shield, to prevent possible contamination.

However, COVID guidelines will have to be followed strictly if any rituals involving touching the body of a person who died of COVID-19 are performed.

In the case of a death confirmed as due to COVID-19, persons who handle the corpse as part of the various rituals performed before cremation should necessarily wear gloves, face shield and medical mask (N 95 preferred). They should preferably wear long-sleeved clothes, which should be put to wash as soon as the rituals are completed.

Those above 60 years of age or those with serious cardiac ailments or diabetes should not handle the body of a person who died of COVID-19.

The place where the body is kept should be washed using a solution of sodium hypochlorite.

Those who handle/touch the body of a person who died of COVID-19, as part of the rituals, should monitor themselves for the next 14 days to check if they develop any respiratory disease symptoms, fatigue, or diarrhoea.

In case deaths due to COVID-19 taken place at home, the health workers should be informed and further directions taken from them, the new guidelines say.

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