Issuing a new directive regarding the disposal of dead bodies of Coronavirus (COVID-19), BMC Commissioner Praveen Pardeshi, on Monday ordered that all 'bodies must be cremated irrespective of religion'. He further stated that burials must not be allowed as they 'risk continuing the virus' and prevents early decomposition. Moreover, the BMC also stated that funerals must not have more than 5 people and if one insists on burying, it must be taken outside Mumbai's jurisdiction.
Immediately, Maharashtra minority affairs minister Nawab Malik intervened and tweeted that the previous order has been revoked after he spoke to Pardeshi. The BMC has now amended the order claiming that those who insist on burying the COVID-19 deceased, will be allowed only if the ground is large enough so as not to create the possibility of spread of the virus in the neighbourhood. The other conditions still stand.
This is to bring to your kind attention that I have spoken to @mybmc Commissioner Mr. Praveen Pardeshi regarding the circular issued by him for cremation of those who have lost their lives due to the #CoronaVirus.— Nawab Malik ÙÙØ§Ø¨ Ù ÙÚ© à¤¨à¤µà¤¾à¤¬ à¤®à¤²à¤¿à¤ (@nawabmalikncp) March 30, 2020
The said circular has now been withdrawn.
The Ministry has issued a clear SOP stating that 'crematorium/burial ground staff should be sensitized that COVID-19 does not pose additional risk'. Moreover, the SOP stated that hand hygiene and use of masks and gloves must be practiced, but rituals that do not involve touching the body can be permitted. While bathing, kissing, hugging the body is disallowed, the ministry has also stated that the ash does not pose any risk and large gathering should be avoided.
On March 14, the Thackeray government invoked the Epidemic Diseases Act declaring the Coronavirus as an epidemic - declaring all gyms, swimming pools, malls, theatres, pubs shut in Mumbai, Navi Mumbai, Thane, Nagpur, Pimpri-Chinchwad till March 31 amid the rising cases of Coronavirus. With the railways shutting down its services on March 22 marking 'Janta Curfew', the Maharashtra government extended a state-wide curfew, stopping all transport services across districts. After PM Modi announcing a 21-day lockdown, Maharashtra too enforced the same as the state recorded the highest number of cases at 220 - Mumbai itself has reported over 88 cases.