In a major relief, the Union Ministry for Home Affairs (MHA) on Saturday (25 April) allowed the bodies of Indian nationals and Overseas Citizens of India (OCI) cardholders who died abroad due to COVID-19 to be brought back while ensuring strict adherence to pertinent guidelines, reports Economic Times.
The MHA has also instructed the airport authorities to abide by the protocols laid down by different Government agencies in this respect, and that the Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) issued by the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW).
Meanwhile, it should be noted that the importation of human remains of confirmed or suspected COVID-19 is not recommended, whereby the human remains include both, the dead body and the exhumed body. As per MHA, if in the contrary of the recommendation, human remains of a COVID-19 patient do arrive, then the onus shall be on the Airport Health Officer (APHO) to follow certain procedures.
APHO will also be required to verify the death certificate mentioning the cause of death as confirmed COVID-19 or suspected COVID-19. Apart from this, the verification of the NOC issued for the transportation of the human remains of the deceased by the Indian Embassies or High Commissions or Consulates will be a mandatory part of the protocol.
The importation of human remains of the patients will require submission of no objection, approval and concurrence from the MoHFW and the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA).
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