DOH: Sealed body bags can’t be opened | Inquirer News

DOH: Sealed body bags can’t be opened

/ 05:20 AM July 24, 2020

Amid the controversy surrounding the deaths of high-profile inmates at the New Bilibid Prison, the Department of Health (DOH) said on Wednesday that infection control protocols forbid the opening of sealed body bags containing the remains of those who have died from the new coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

“That’s part of the laws and guidelines which the DOH adheres to,” Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said, quoting Department Order No. 2020-0158, which provides the guidelines on the handling of the remains of suspect, probable and confirmed COVID-19 cases.


The guidelines, she added, are meant to prevent the further transmission of the disease.

While Vergeire maintained that the virus can no longer survive if its host has already died, she maintained that cadaver bags are “not to be opened ever” as a matter of precaution.


But the DOH official distanced her agency from the controversy surrounding the death allegedly from COVID-19 of several high-profile Bilibid prisoners, and said that the Bureau of Corrections and the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) were in the best position to answer questions on the proper identification of the cadaver.

Protocols set by the DILG stated that “at no instance” should body bags be unzipped. But at the same time, it required crematorium staff to “ensure the identity of the cadaver to be cremated.” —JOVIC YEE

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TAGS: Bilibid, body bag, coronavirus Philippines, COVID-19 Philippines, DoH, health crisis, NBP, pandemic, Quarantine
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