The Odisha government on Monday night allowed the cremation of the bodies of people suspected of having Covid-19 without waiting for their test results, to avoid a delay in the final rites, reported PTI.

“It is clarified that as we are in the midst of a global pandemic, as a measure of abundant precaution, in all such cases the dead body may be disposed of as per COVID norms, in compassionate consultation with the family of the deceased,” the state’s Additional Chief Secretary PK Mohapatra said in a letter to district officials. The letter was addressed to all district collectors and civic body chiefs.

Mohapatra said that the new rules will reduce the trauma faced by the families. If a suspected coronavirus patient under treatment or in quarantine died before the sample can be tested, the body may be disposed as per the Covid-19 norms without insisting on a test report, he said.

On July 25, the state had released detailed guidelines for performing the last rites of coronavirus patients, saying that the body shall be handled and moved around in a “decent” manner. The guidelines also noted that during disposal of the body, the family may be allowed to perform the last rites according to their religious faith. However, the guidelines forbid touching the body, mandate physical distancing rules, and following standard hygienic precautions. Not more than 20 people are allowed at funerals and the family members may collect the remains after cremation.

The Union health ministry’s Tuesday morning update showed that Odisha has 26,892 total cases, including 9,371 active ones, 17,374 recoveries and 147 deaths.

Follow today’s updates on the pandemic here