The Lagos State government says there is no policy against releasing dead coronavirus (COVID-19) patients to their families.
This was made known by the Commissioner for Health in the state, Professor Akin Abayomi, during a briefing on Sunday.
Responding to a question about the controversy surrounding the release of the body of the late Chief of Staff to the President, Abba Kyari, for burial, Abayomi said protocol was followed.
“There is no policy against the release of the diseased with COVID-19 in terms of release for burial. If you demise from any condition, there is a protocol to manage any scenario,” Professor Abayomi said.
He explained, “The protocol for managing death from COVID-19 is that the body is decontaminated, and now placed in a special body bag.
“We put them in two body bags and then place within a coffin, then the coffin is sealed. The family is then given the opportunity to collect the body and be taken for burial.”
Abayomi further explained that the only restriction on burial is that those who can attend must not be more than 25 people, including the religious members of the ceremony and the grave-diggers should not exceed 25.
He stated also that family members of dead COVID-19 patients would be allowed to conduct a private burial for their loved ones after proper protocol for decontaminating the body and ensuring that it was sealed in body bags and further sealed in a coffin is carried out.
“So, there is no current policy that bars us from handing over the deceased to their family members.
“It just has to be done in a way that does not expose family members or does not break the current law around the number of people to be aggregated in one place,” Professor Abayomi insisted.