Any religious rites during funeral can only involve the surface of the body bags of the Covid-19 victims.
Health director general Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said a post-mortem conducted on one of the Covid-19 victims recently has confirmed that the virus remains on the surface of the body.
He said the victim’s body must not be removed from the body bag for any religious or cultural rituals.
Whatever needed to be done must only be done on the body bag, he said.
“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 yesterday.
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.
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).