MOH: Post-mortem shows coronavirus stays on skin, funeral rites can only involve body bags

Health director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah confirmed today that the Health Ministry’s post-mortems show that the coronavirus still stays on the surface of the skin of deceased victims. — Picture by Choo Choy May
Health director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah confirmed today that the Health Ministry’s post-mortems show that the coronavirus still stays on the surface of the skin of deceased victims. — Picture by Choo Choy May

KUALA LUMPUR, April 10 — The Ministry of Health (MOH) confirmed today that its post-mortem shows that the nCoV-2019 coronavirus (Covid-19) still stays on the surface of the skin of deceased victims.

Health Director-General Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said this means that any religious rites during funeral can only involve the surface of the body bags of the Covid-19 victims.

“This procedure was based on a post-mortem finding where the Covid-19 virus was detected on the surface of the body through Real-time Polymerase Chain Reaction (rt-PCR) analysis conducted by the Institute of Medical Research,” he said in his daily briefing today.

The Malaysian fatwa committee has previously decided in a conference on March 15 that any funeral rites for Muslims should only involve “tayammum”, or religious purification using earth or dust, rather than the usual practice of bathing the dead.

Similarly, the Malaysian Consultative Council of Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Sikhism and Taoism (MCCBCHST) also decided on March 16 that any religious rites should similarly only be performed on the body bags.

There have been 70 deaths from Covid-19 in the country as of earlier today, compared to 1,830 people who have recovered.

According to the MOH guidelines, the bodies of deceased Covid-19 patients can only be managed by those specially trained to handle those who died from infectious diseases.

Under such circumstances, the bodies will not be passed over to families, who will also not be allowed to touch them and bathe them (under Islamic requirement).

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