COVID-19 Inter-Agency Guidance for the Management of the Dead in Humanitarian Settings

Published Date

This inter-agency guidance was jointly drafted by ICRC, IFRC and WHO colleagues (in addition to consultation with the US CDC and the Pan American Health Organisation). It is targeted towards humanitarian settings and aims to complement other guidance on the management of the dead with a stronger focus on the practical realities faced when dealing with the dead in humanitarian settings. The guidance offers practical recommendations for the management of the bodies or human remains of persons who died from COVID-19, with the following objectives:

  1. Ensuring the safety and wellbeing of those involved in managing and handling the dead from COVID-19.
  2. Ensuring the proper and dignified management of all COVID-19 fatalities, with respect for their families and communities.
  3. Ensuring the reliable documentation, identification and traceability of COVID-19 fatalities to prevent them from becoming missing persons.
  4. Ensuring that the management of COVID-19 fatalities does not impede medico legal investigations where required by the authorities (e.g. suspicious deaths, deaths in custody, etc.), albeit with the additional health and safety precautions necessary for carrying out post-mortem procedures.