The Lagos State Government has said there is no law or policy in place that forbids the release of the bodies of patients who died of COVID-19 to their families for burial.
The Lagos State Commissioner for Health, Prof Akin Abayomi, said this while addressing a press conference on Sunday.
A reporter, making veiled reference to President Muhammadu Buhari’s Chief of Staff, Abba Kyari, had asked why the state government released the body and allowed it to be taken to Abuja for burial.
The reporter, while asking his question, recalled that the Minister for Information, Lai Mohammed, once said families of dead Coronavirus patients will not be allowed to claim their corpses, wondering why it was not the same with the late Abba Kyari.
In his reaction, the Lagos State Health Commissioner said: “There is no policy against the release of the deceased with COVID-19 to the family for burial.
“It depends on many conditions. There’s a protocol to manage every scenario. The protocol to manage death from COVID-19 is that the body will be decontaminated; the body is then placed in a special body bag.
“We put them in two body bags and then placed within a coffin and the coffin is sealed. The family will then be given the opportunity to come and collect the body and taken for burial. Restriction around the burial must follow the current law on congregations and no more than 25 people, in total, including the religious members of the ceremony and the gravediggers; they should not exceed 25.
“Family can then carry out the private burial ceremony.“Once we’ve conducted the proper protocol for decontaminating the body and ensuring the body is put in body bags, and then put in a coffin.
“There’s no current policy that bars us from handing over bodies of the deceased to their family members; just that it must be done in a way that does not expose family members or that doesn’t breach the law on the numbers of people that should be aggregated in one place.”
Recall that Abba Kyari was buried yesterday with more than 25 persons in attendance, at the Gudu Cemetery in Abuja.