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COVID-19: guidance for care of the deceased

Advice primarily designed to assist people required to manage bodies of deceased persons infected with coronavirus (COVID-19).

This is just to let you know that today (31 March) new guidance is being published for care of the deceased with suspected or confirmed coronavirus.

This guidance will help ensure members of the funeral, pathology and other related professions can keep themselves safe and prevent the risk of infection from COVID-19 when they are in contact with the deceased, as well as how to guide and advise mourners to safely organise and attend funerals and associated mourning rituals. This advice has been drafted in consultation with faith leaders, who have worked with MHCLG and PHE to ensure their communities are protected and understand why some changes are needed to funerals and mourning rituals in this difficult time.

We hope this advice will be useful to you and colleagues, and would be grateful if it could be distributed as you see appropriate. The advice includes:

  • The number of mourners attending funerals should be restricted, so a safe distance of at least 2 metres (3 steps) can be maintained between individuals. Ideally, only members of the deceased person’s household or close family members should attend.
  • Any individuals displaying symptoms of coronavirus should not attend.
  • Those attending the funeral will need to adhere to social distancing at all times, including when traveling to and from the funeral.
  • Mourners are strongly advised not to take part in any rituals that bring them into close contact with the body of a person who has died from or with symptoms of coronavirus.
  • Practices that involve close personal contact with the deceased should only be carried out using the correct personal protective equipment, as outlined in the guidance.

The guidance can be found here . The guidance will be distributed to local resilience forums (LRFs) directly from MHCLG via Resilience Direct.

Kind Regards
The Coroners' Society of England & Wales

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