Interior Secretary Eduardo Año signed memorandum circular 2020-063 on Saturday, which provided the interim guidelines on the management of human remains for COVID-19 patients and persons under investigation.
Michael Varcas
DILG issues guidelines on COVID fatalities
Romina Cabrera (The Philippine Star) - March 30, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) has issued guidelines for local government units (LGUs) on the management of human remains involving confirmed and suspected COVID-19 cases.

Interior Secretary Eduardo Año signed memorandum circular 2020-063 on Saturday, which provided the interim guidelines on the management of human remains for COVID-19 patients and persons under investigation.

The 11-page memorandum noted that each situation should balance the rights of the family to the body, as well as minimize the risk of exposure to infection by funeral personnel. 

The cadaver bag, with an attached biohazard tag for either a suspected or positive COVID-19 case, shall not be unzipped at any instance or have the body removed from the bag.

LGUs have been directed to designate and commission reputable funeral parlors and crematoriums to handle the remains of COVID-19 cases and provide financial assistance to transfer and transport the remains.

Funeral parlors and crematoriums that refuse to provide logistics and transport of COVID-19 cases shall be penalized.

Local executives have been empowered to release issuances or ordinances that will put a price cap or freeze on funeral services within their jurisdiction.  

All funeral personnel, who have been granted exemptions from the lockdown, shall be required to wear personal protective equipment while handling the bodies.

Burial and cremation shall be done within 12 hours after the death of the confirmed or suspected COVID-19 case, but as much as possible be in accordance with the wish and religious protocols of the deceased or their family. 

Special consideration should also be given to religious and cultural practices, notably for Muslim Filipinos who shall not be restricted from being buried in an identified Muslim cemetery. 

Foreign nationals deemed COVID-19 cases shall be immediately reported to the Department of Health-Bureau of International Cooperation and the Department of Foreign Affairs.

COVID-19 GUIDELINES
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