A review of the management and safe handling of bodies in cases involving COVID-19.
Wuhan Municipal Health Commission, China, reported a cluster of cases of ‘pneumonia of unknown aetiology’ in Wuhan, Hubei province in late 2019. The causative organism was eventually identified as a novel coronavirus. Subsequently, the disease spread to more provinces in China, then the rest of the world, and the World Health Organization declared it a pandemic. The virus was named Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) and the disease was termed COVID-19 (Coronavirus disease). Since then, an increasing number of people have succumbed to this infectious disease. High contagiousness and rapid spread of the disease has been a matter of concern, as it may overburden healthcare systems. Hence, it is vital to implement strict infection prevention and control measures to curb the spread of the disease. This article reviews the guidelines available for the handling of bodies of deceased persons with suspected or confirmed COVID-19, and for their safe disposal. It also provides a summary of recommendations for conducting autopsies in cases where COVID-19 is suspected.