The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation on Tuesday told Bombay High Court the novel coronavirus is not transmitted via dead bodies and that the authorities were following all guidelines prescribed while
disposing of bodies of COVID-19 victims.
The affidavit was filed by the BMC in response to a plea filed by a group of suburban Bandra residents seeking an order restraining burial of bodies of COVID-19 victims at the Bandra Kabrastan (burial ground).
The petition filed by Pradeep Gandhy and others claimed locals fear there would be community spread of the virus if the bodies are not properly disposed of.
"Cadavers do not transmit COVID-19 disease," the affidavit filed by BMC Assistant Medical Officer Deepak Chavan said.
The affidavit was submitted on Tuesday before a bench headed by Justice Dipankar Datta who then posted the matter for further hearing on Wednesday.
The affidavit said the World Health Organisation had issued guidelines dealing with infection prevention and control for the safe management of a dead body infected with the coronavirus.
"The guidelines clearly stipulate that except in cases of haemorrhagic fevers such as Ebola virus and cholera, dead bodies are generally not infectious. Only lungs of patients with pandemic influenza, if handled improperly during an autopsy, can be infectious," the affidavit said.
It added that till date there was no evidence of any person getting infected with COVID-19 from a dead body and hence the contentions raised by the petitioners is lacking any scientific basis and entirely erroneous, misconceived and baseless.
It further pointed out a separate area has been earmarked in Bandra Kabrastan for burial of COVID-19 bodies, and this was at the far end of the ground and away from nearby residential colonies.
"Disposal of dead bodies infected with COVID-19 is done in the safest and most hygienic way possible without causing any threat, danger to residents of the vicinity and all guidelines and precautions are followed," the affidavit said.