Guidance document

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

ICRC, International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), World Health Organization (WHO)
Publication Year
Thematic Area
Prevention / Management of the Dead / Emergency / Burial Site / Mass Grave
Open access

The present guidance is targeted towards humanitarian settings. It 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, and 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.