The Lagos State government says there is no policy prohibiting the release of dead coronavirus (COVID-19) patients to their families.
The Commissioner for Health in the state, Professor Akin Abayomi, stated this during a briefing on Sunday.
He was responding to a question to clarify the controversy surrounding the release of the body of the late Chief of Staff to the President, Abba Kyari, for burial.
“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.”
According to the commissioner, 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 said the government would allow family members of dead COVID-19 patients to conduct a private burial for their loved ones after carrying out a proper protocol for decontaminating the body and ensuring that it was sealed in body bags and further sealed in a coffin.
“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.
During the briefing, the commissioner revealed the local governments where the highest cases of COVID-19 were recorded.
Although he did not state the actual figure of cases recorded, he said Lagos Mainland Local Government Area (LGA) was worst-hit, followed by Eti-Osa and Ikeja LGAs.
On the other hand, Ajeromi, Epe and Ojo LGAs have yet to record any case of coronavirus as of April 18. 2020.