Health Ministry revises funeral management involving Muslim and non-Muslim deaths

PETALING JAYA: Funeral management involving Muslim and non-Muslim Covid-19 deaths has been revised by the Health Ministry, which saw various standard operating procedures (SOPs) being relaxed.

Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin said among the new revisions in SOPs was that Muslim bodies infected with Covid-19 can now be bathed and laid to rest by a trained mortuary operator at the hospital with the use of complete and appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE).

Among the new revised SOPs, said Khairy, was that when Covid-19 Muslim corpses are bathed, mortuary operators must avoid any activities that has elements of aerosol generating procedure (AGP) activities, such as pressing on the corpse's abdomen.

"Only two next-of-kins with complete vaccination status, clad in complete and appropriate PPEs, are allowed to be present to bathe and lay to rest the corpse together with the trained mortuary officer in the hospital," said Khairy in a statement on Wednesday (June 29).

Meanwhile, for non-Muslim bodies infected with Covid-19, Khairy said the last rites procedure requires clothes to be changed on the body of the deceased and it does not require AGP.

Only two next-of-kins who are fully vaccinated are allowed to be present during the last rites procedure and they must be clad in complete and appropriate PPEs, said Khairy.

Meanwhile, Khairy said bodies infected with Covid-19 will now be allowed to be stored in a single body bag for each corpse.

Previously, every Covid-19 corpse must be stored in two body bags.

At the same time, Khairy said there will be no limit placed on the attendance of relatives during the burial process, but those present must wear PPEs.

"The KKM also did not set a limit on attendance for the burial process. But, the Ministry is encouraging those who attend to wear face masks and avoid crowded areas at all times," added Khairy.

Since the Covid-19 pandemic began in 2020, Muslim bodies are not allowed to be bathed and laid to rest as per the Islamic ritual to prevent infection.

For non-Muslim fatalities, the corpse had to be placed in a body bag for the funeral procedure and must be immediately cremated or buried.

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