China orders remains of coronavirus patients to be cremated nearby

Staff members of a funeral parlour wearing protective suits disinfecting a colleague after transferring a body at a hospital in Wuhan, China, on Jan 30, 2020.
Staff members of a funeral parlour wearing protective suits disinfecting a colleague after transferring a body at a hospital in Wuhan, China, on Jan 30, 2020.PHOTO: AFP

BEIJING - Chinese authorities have ordered the remains of patients infected with the novel coronavirus to be cremated close to where they are, and funeral traditions such as a farewell ceremony are banned, Xinhua news agency reported on Sunday (Feb 2).

The remains of infected patients should not be transported between different provincial-level regions, and cannot be preserved by burial or other means, according to a trial guideline jointly issued by the general offices of the National Health Commission, the Ministry of Civil Affairs and the Ministry of Public Security.

The bodies should be disinfected and placed in a sealed bag by medical workers as required, which are not allowed to be opened after sealing, Xinhua said.

Funeral homes should send special personnel and vehicles to deliver the bodies according to the designated route, and the bodies should be cremated at designated sites, the guideline stressed.

Separately, Xinhua reported that there is a potential risk of mother-to-child transmission of the virus. It cited Chen Zhimin, an expert from the respiratory medicine department of the Children's Hospital of Zhejiang University.

If a pregnant mother is confirmed infected with the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV), her newborn baby is also at risk of being infected, Chen told the provincial press briefing on Friday (Jan 31).