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Health officials dressed in hazmat suits while handling the coffin bearing remains of a patient who succumbed to COVID-19 in May. The health ministry said health officials will no longer be dressed in full personal protective gear while conducting burial ceremonies of COVID-19 victims/FILE

Capital Health

PPE-clad officials scaled down in reviewed COVID-19 burial protocols

NAIROBI, Kenya, Sep 22 – The Ministry of Health has reviewed COVID-19 burial protocols, to allow more participation by family members, unlike before when participation was limited with graveside rites dominated by health officials clad in Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).

In the reviewed protocols unveiled on Tuesday, the health ministry said health officials will no longer be dressed in full personal protective gear while conducting burial ceremonies of COVID-19 victims.

Health Chief Administrative Secretary Mercy Mwangangi said health officials will only be present to guide the process and ensure safety.

“Going forward, families and communities will play a greater role in the burial of their loved ones who succumb to COVID-19. The families will from now on take the centre-stage and conduct safe burial rites according to their beliefs, religion or culture of the deceased person,” Mwangangi stated.

The ministry however urged family members asked to exclude vulnerable persons in contact-prone graveside rites and ensure they maintain hygiene and social distancing during the ceremonies.

Further, members of the public are required to put on their masks at all times in public places including burial ceremonies.

In Siaya, the body of 59-year-old James Oyugi who succumbed to COVID-19 was buried at night, with his body covered in a body bag and tossed in a shallow grave/FILE

Burial protocols adopted by the health ministry at the onset of the COVID-19 outbreak in March were widely condemned after instances of dead bodies being dunmped into shallow graves by health officials dressed in PPEs in the dead of the night.

In Siaya, the body of 59-year-old James Oyugi who succumbed to COVID-19 was buried at night, with his body covered in a body bag and tossed in a shallow grave.

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