Kenya: COVID-19 Funeral Restrictions Relaxed
Burial restrictions for victims of COVID-19 in Kenya have been relaxed after protocols introduced to stop the spread of the virus prevented family members from carrying out the process.
For the last six months, public health wearing full personal protective equipment (PPE) has buried those who have succumbed to the coronavirus.
Now, these strict measures have been revised, permitting bereaved families to handle the bodies of the relatives and conduct burials and last rites.
Public health officials will continue to maintain a presence at burials.
The move brings the country’s burial practices in line with World Health Organization guidelines.
The WHO has said that the likelihood of transmission of COVID-19 when handling the remains of someone who had the virus is low, but has encouraged the use of PPE when handling bodies if there is a risk of splashes from the body fluids or secretions.
WHO guidelines issued earlier this month state: “Those tasked with placing the body in the grave, on the funeral pyre, et cetera, should wear gloves and wash their hands with soap and water after removal of the gloves once the burial is complete.” They do not call for family members and friends to be excluded from the burial process but encourage the observance of local protocols on the number of people that can attend the ceremony.
“The families will take the centre stage in the ceremonies, with health officials only guiding the process. They will also allow safe burial rites dictated by religion or culture of the deceased person,” Nation reported health secretary Dr. Mercy Mwangangi said.
As of Tuesday, Kenya had 659 COVID-19 deaths, according to figures released by the ministry of health. The country has had 37, 218 confirmed cases of the virus, and 24, 147 people have recovered from COVID-19. (newnow.co.uk)