New Covid-19 rules outline how to handle victims' bodies

Health minister calls on municipalities to ensure safe burials and cremations

09 April 2020 - 10:43 By Iavan Pijoos
Anyone handling a Covid-19 body should at all times wear suitable personal protective gear and practise good hygiene, said health minister Zweli Mkhize on Thursday.
Anyone handling a Covid-19 body should at all times wear suitable personal protective gear and practise good hygiene, said health minister Zweli Mkhize on Thursday.
Image: REUTERS / Eduardo Munoz

In a bid to stop the further spread of the coronavirus, no person may handle the remains of a Covid-19 victim with bare hands - or kiss them.

The measure is part of a new set of regulations outlined in a government gazette on Wednesday by the national department of health.

Health minister Zweli Mkhize said anyone handling a Covid-19 body should at all times wear suitable personal protective gear and practise good hygiene.

Mkhize said all health personnel in the government and the private sector should be trained in managing the pandemic.

He said health authorities must also identify where there is a need for deployment of health personnel to respond to the pandemic, irrespective of their areas of jurisdiction or area of responsibility.

“All health personnel should be available for deployment to identified sites such as quarantine facilities and any other areas that require health services for rendering these health services,” he said.

Mkhize said retired health personnel, community services personnel, extended public works programme workers, community-based organisations and non-governmental organisations may be requested to fill positions temporarily to help in responding to the pandemic.

He called on municipalities to ensure that the burial or cremation of Covid-19 deaths took place in suitably approved cemeteries and crematoria.

On Wednesday evening, the department of health announced that the number of South Africans to have died of Covid-19 had increased to 18.

Mkhize said that there had been five additional deaths confirmed since he released figures on Tuesday.

There were also 96 additional confirmed cases of Covid-19 since Tuesday, taking the total to 1,845 across SA.


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