Coronavirus: Indian officials urge families to claim remains at mortuaries

Dubai's Indian consulate said they had also seen delays in reporting Covid-19 deaths

DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES. 15 JUNE 2020. STANDALONE. Bur Dubai life during COVID-19.  Shops within Souk Khabeer, n the old part of Bur Dubai, was hard hit by the locksdown and remain closed. (Photo: Antonie Robertson/The National) Journalist: None. Section: National.
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The India Consulate in Dubai has asked families and employers to claim remains from mortuaries and report Covid-19 deaths without delay.

A statement from the consulate noted employers, sponsors and families had in some cases been slow to collect the remains of their loved-ones over recent weeks.

“In many cases the Consulate has seen undue delay on the part of employers and sponsors in completing the local formalities or even giving the information about death to the Consulate," the statement said.

"Particularly in the Covid-19 situation, this creates additional burden on mortuaries and government facilities.”

Prior to the pandemic, bodies of foreign residents were repatriated to allow families to bury their loved-ones in their home countries.

Today, however, bodies of Covid-19 victims must be buried or cremated in-country as part of measures to prevent the spread of the disease.

As of June 20, a total of 300 people have died from the virus in the UAE.

The Indian consulate stressed that bodies must be handled as per instructions provided by the UAE government.

“These steps are necessary to ensure dignified end to a departed soul,” said the consulate’s statement.

Employers and sponsors of Indian residents should report deaths immediately to the consulate’s emergency helpline and complete formalities for performing last rites.

Family and friends are also asked to inform the consulate or embassy of deaths.

Crematoriums in the UAE have faced a backlog due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The pandemic has also caused delays in the cremation of people who have died from other causes. If remains go unclaimed, local authorities perform the burial.