There’s no risk of virus transmission during cremation or burial of coronavirus victims as officials are taking necessary precautions, said the West Bengal health department in an advisory.
It said there was no chance of airborne transmission as the disease spreads through droplets coughed or sneezed out by an infected patient.
“The temperature generated during cremation is 800 to 1,000 degrees Celsius, under which, the virus can no longer remain viable. To this day, there isn’t any evidence to prove that the smoke generated during cremation has caused COVID-19,” the advisory explained.
If standard precautions are taken, there is absolutely no risk of infection from a dead body to healthcare workers, family members, or people in the locality, the statement said.
The health department also quoted the World Health Organisation (WHO) to underline no such case has come to the fore where a person is known to have contracted the disease following his exposure to bodies of COVID-19 victims.
It said all precautionary measures were taken while performing the last rites of the victims, in line with the ‘The COVID 19 dead body management guidelines’ released by the Union health ministry. “Hence, it is clear if the protocol prescribed for transportation and disposal of bodies of COVID-19 positive persons is followed, there is no risk of any virus infection,” the statement stressed.
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On March 23, locals in Kolkata’s Nimtala area had staged a demonstration to stop government officials from cremating the body of a COVID-19 victim at nearby crematorium. Senior police officers took over two hours to convince the residents that necessary measures have been taken to avoid contamination.
The Kolkata Municipal Corporation has reserved a two furnace crematorium at Dhapa, and another at Topsia, and a burial ground at Baghmari for coronavirus cases.
(With inputs from agencies)