The Presidential Task Force (PTF) On COVID-19 Pandemic, on Monday, said the bodies of persons, who died of coronavirus, were not infectious. This is in sharp contradiction to a statement by the Nigeria’s minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, who is also a member of the PTF on COVID-19.Mohammed had said corpses of persons who tested positive for COVID-19 could not be claimed for burial because they are contagious.
However, in a surprise volte-face, the government through the National Coordinator of the task force, Dr Sani Aliyu, at a media briefing of the PTF in Abuja, on Monday, said: “I would like to further clarify the issue of COVID-19 and burial processes. Contrary to what is on social media, the late chief of staff’s body was properly prepared for burial, according to the NCDC guidelines and the Islamic faith.
“The bodies of persons with COVID-19, as stated by the WHO guidelines and I quote, ‘Except in cases of viral haemorrhagic fever and cholera, dead bodies are generally not infectious.’
“To date, there is no evidence of persons having become infected from exposure to the bodies of persons who have died of COVID-19.’”
At the briefing, Aliyu and the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, apologised for some PTF members’ violation of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control’s protocols at the burial of the Chief of Staff to the President, Mallam Abba Kyari, on Saturday.
Members of the task force, who attended the crowded burial, have been heavily criticised for disregarding the NCDC protocols for burial of corpses of people that die of COVID-19.
Dignitaries at the burial included Mustapha, Aliyu; Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama.
Kyari, who had been undergoing treatment at the First Cardiology Consultants Hospital, Lagos died of COVID-19 on Friday and was buried at Gudu cemetery, Abuja on Saturday.
On Monday night, Nigeria confirmed 38 new COVID-19 cases. The cases were recorded in five states, bringing Nigeria’s total to 665.
According to the breakdown by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), 23 were recorded in Kano, five in Gombe, three in Kaduna, two in Borno, two in Abia, and one each in the federal capital territory, Sokoto and Ekiti.