Abba Kyari: Recommended(WHO) guidelines for burial

The Burial of Abba kyari, the Nigerian president’s chief of staff who died of Coronavirus complications is causing a lot of outrage. It would seem the authorities did not follow most of the guidelines they gave to Nigerians especially on social distancing, crowd size and Burial rites for deceased

Below is an established routine for handling dead bodies according to the CDC

Precautions while handling the body include:

  • Avoid unnecessary manipulation of the body that may expel air from the lungs
  • Wear appropriate PPE while handling the body at all times
  • Practice hand hygiene practices before and after contact with the body
  • Perform regular environmental decontamination including all surfaces and equipment with a disinfectant included in the Australian Register of Therapeutic Goods as a listed disinfectant with a specific virucidal claim (“kills viruses”).

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

Standard infection control and occupational health and safety guidelines should always be followed while handling and preparing a body. All staff should be trained in the correct use of PPE.

Persons in close contact with the body must wear:

  • a clean protective outer garment, such as a gown
  • disposable gloves
  • a disposable surgical mask
  • appropriate eye protection such as safety glasses or a face shield.

After use, PPE should be carefully removed and decontaminated or disposed of into general waste as soon as practicable.

Body bags

The body of a deceased person confirmed or suspected to have COVID-19 should be transported and stored in a two body bags (double bagged) to prevent any leaks.

The outer body bag should be clearly and permanently labelled as containing COVID 19, such as: “COVID-19 – Handle with care”.

The funeral director should only remove the body to prepare the body for viewing, cremation or burial.

Used body bags should be disposed of in clinical waste streams.


Embalming is not recommended for bodies who died from, or with, COVID-19 as it is not clear whether embalming is safe to do.

If embalming must be done, the embalmer should be certified and trained in the use of PPE consistent with contact and airborne precautions. This includes a P2/N95 respirator which has been fit-checked, gown, gloves and eye protection.

Viewing the body

Family or relative viewings of the deceased should be allowed to take place in a funeral director’s mortuary facility and standard precautions should be observed.

Family members should not kiss or touch the deceased to minimise the risk of transmission.

If a family member does touch the body, they should wash their hands with soap and water immediately afterwards or use an alcohol-based hand rub.

Cremation of bodies

Funeral directors must comply with the relevant NSW regulations with regards to disposal of bodies.  Infection control precautions should be used during body handling and the cremation of deceased bodies confirmed or suspected to have COVID-19.

Follow the link to read more on WHO website


Be the first to comment

Leave a comment