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Muslims Issue Covid-19 Burial Protocol for Faithfuls

The National Muslim Covid-19 Response Team has initiated procedures of handling bodies of victims who die of coronavirus, and how their funeral prayers and burial should be conducted.
Chairman of the Response Team, Prof. Muhammad Karama, said the team has also put in place a team of volunteers in Nairobi, Mombasa, Eldoret, Nakuru and Bungoma handle cases if victims who die from the virus.
“The volunteers with appropriate personal protection equipment will provide assistance in the handling of the deceased cases and ensure that the bodies of Muslims are wrapped in white sheets and placed in a biodegradable sealed body bags before being transported to the burial areas,” said Prof. Karama.
Speaking at a press briefing at the Jamia Mosque in Nairobi, Monday, attended and addressed by Imams, scholars and Muslim medical professionals, he said Muslims who die of COVID-19 will not be subjected to the ritual washing procedures in order to prevent infection and spread of the disease.
“We appeal to Muslims throughout the country to adhere to the government directive to prevent the spread of Covid-19, and to avoid the ritual of washing of bodies of victims confirmed to have died of coronavirus,” said Karama.
“In the event of a death caused by the virus, either at the hospital or at home, a team from the National Muslim Covid-19 Response Committee will be at hand to provide the necessary assistance regarding the handling of the bodies, transportation and burial procedures,” he said.
Karama also called on Muslims to report all home deaths through the toll free number 719 for government assessment before the identified teams engage in the burial procedures.
At the same time, Prof. Karama announced that a team of psychiatrists and psychologists has been put in place to provide counseling and psycho-social support to the families of the deceased.
The Chairman is also coordinating with scholars and Imams in Mombasa while the Supreme Council of Kenya Muslims will play a coordinating role in ensuring that the information is cascaded to the counties.
He said the response team is sensitizing the Muslim community in the country about the coronavirus pandemic, with emphasis on adherence to all precautionary measures put in place by the government in containing and fighting Covid-19.
Karama added that various committees have been put in place to facilitate preparedness and management of the effects of the pandemic, and their role will include body handling, janazah (burial) welfare and resource mobilization, home based care, and psycho-socio support.
The Chairman also urged the government to provide special consideration to Muslims to feed the less fortunate during the forthcoming holy month of Ramadhan which is due in less than two weeks.
Prof. Karama said Muslims have already made arrangements on how the food distribution will be conducted, saying that a team of volunteers will distribute the food directly to the homes of the beneficiaries while adhering to protocols put in place by the Ministry of Health to curb the spread of Covid-19.
The National team thanked doctors, nurses and other medical practitioners who are at the frontline in trying to save the lives of those afflicted with COVID-19.
National Muslim Covid-19 Response Team was formed with the aim of complementing the efforts of the government and the Ministry of Health in addressing the challenges of Covid-19 pandemic in the country.
The Team comprises of Islamic scholars, Imams and representatives from different mosques, Muslim organizations and the Kenya Association of Muslim Medical Professionals.
By Bernadette Khaduli

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