“The mere presence of the virus doesn’t necessarily infer that the person died because of the virus," says Wits University professor Shabir Madhi. (AP Photo/Christian Chavez)

What to do when a person dies of Covid-19 at home

CAPE TOWN – In the event that a person infected with COVID -19 dies at home, family members are not to touch the body at all their clothing can only be touched by someone wearing gloves and then the garments must be disinfected with a substance containing 70 percent alcohol.


This is according to the new rules gazetted by the health department on Monday.


The rules state that no one at any stage should handle the body and that an Emergency Medical Services (EMS) should be called in immediately to confirm the death before the body is removed by an undertaker.


South Africa’s Covid-19 death toll has been soaring now reaching 481.


The Covid -19 infections are also increasing, according to Health Minister Zweli Mkhize, there are 23 615 infections to date. 


There has been a growing concern over the hospital capacity in terms of dealing with the virus and many are given the option to self-isolate in their homes.


According to the amended rules “clothing and other fabric belongings of the deceased should be machine washed with warm water, at 60 -90 °C, and laundry detergent.


“If machine washing is not possible, linens can be soaked in hot water and soap in a large drum using a stick to stir and being careful to avoid splashing. The drum should then be emptied, and the linens soaked in 0.05percent chlorine for approximately 30 minutes. 


“Finally, the laundry should be rinsed with clean water and the linens should be allowed to dry in full sunlight,” the regulations stated.



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