Covid-19 – updated 5 April 2020

31 March 2020 – Guidance for Care of the Deceased with Suspected or Confirmed Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Public Health England has issued Guidance for Care of the Deceased with Suspected or Confirmed Coronavirus (COVID-19)

You can comment on the Guidance here.

31 March 2020 – Coronavirus Act – Excess Death Provisions: Information and Guidance to Medical Practitioners 

The NHS has issued Guidance to Medical Practitioners

26 March 2020 – Guidance to Coroners

The Chief Coroner has issued Guidance on Covid-19

An ICCM Newsletter to Members published on 6 April 2020 can be found here.

An ICCM Newsletter to Members published on 30 March 2020 can be found here.

An ICCM Newsletter to Members published on 23 March 2020 can be found here.

An ICCM Newsletter to Members published on 20 March 2020 can be found here.

An ICCM Newsletter to Members published on 18 March 2020 can be found here.

Covid-19 Joint Guidance

The Association of Private Cemeteries and Crematoria, The Cremation Society of Great Britain, The Federation of Burial and Cremation Authorities and the Institute of Cemetery and Crematorium Management have issued joint guidance relating to funerals during the Covid-19 outbreak. The joint guidance, which supplements guidance issued by representatives of the British funeral sector released on 18 March 2020 (see below), can be read here.

NAFD Covid-19 Risk Assessment

To assist with the risk based approach to funeral attendances, the NAFD have published guidance, which can be downloaded here.

Ministry of Justice – Exhumation Applications During the Covid-19 Pandemic

The Ministry of Justice has asked for advice regarding applications for exhumations during the Covid-19 pandemic to be circulated. A copy can be found here.

Statement from representatives of the British funeral sector (The National Association of Funeral Directors, Society of Allied and Independent Funeral Directors, Institute of Cemetery and Crematorium Management, Federation of Burial and Cremation Authorities, Cremation Society of Great Britain and the Association of Private Cemeteries and Crematoria)

The government has today (17 March 2020) met with representative bodies from the funeral, crematoria and burial sector regarding the COVID-19 outbreak. Requests for support with access to equipment that is in scarce supply, and the need for additional advice and support as the situation develops, were taken on board. As a result of that meeting, the signatories to this statement have decided to offer the following advice.

The key outcome is that funerals should continue, as normally as possible, for now – but take into account all of the guidelines issued by government for minimising the risk of transmission. This includes the need to protect at-risk groups, to avoid large gatherings of people, for good hand hygiene and the avoidance of unnecessary physical contact. This is not only for the benefit of those attending funerals, it also supports the urgent need to protect funeral home, crematorium and cemetery employees, who need to remain healthy and able to support bereaved families at this critical time.

In consultation with their local crematoria and cemeteries, Funeral homes and families should assess each funeral individually and consider whether it might mean smaller numbers of people and organising a celebration of life or memorial service planned for a later date. Alternatives such as webcasting may enable other mourners to participate. This is a fast evolving situation and guidance may well need to change again in the near future. The focus for day-to-day communication will be local resilience forums, with which funeral, crematoria and burial organisations are working closely, across the country.

We will be sending a guidance document to you shortly to support you in undertaking this assessment.

This is a fast evolving situation and guidance may well need to change again in the near future. Much of the Government’s day-to-day focus for communication will be local resilience forums and you are urged to make contact with your local resilience forum to ensure there is a good flow of information coming out to you that is relevant to your local area. If you are already involved in your local resilience forum, make sure you are sharing information with other providers in your area, local funeral firms and with the ICCM through the Chief Executive at jdunk@institutecemandcrem.com. This will help us to ensure all UK cemetery and crematorium operators have a consistent flow of operational information.

The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) has identified that to effectively manage a coronavirus outbreak in the UK, they need to introduce new fast-tracked legislation. This will provide them with the legal measures to be able to implement their phased response. Details of the proposed legislation, which will be heard in parliament on Thursday, can be seen here.

The latest guidance about the Coronavirus from the UK government can be found here.

The latest guidance about the Coronavirus from the Scottish government can be found here. The Scottish Government has also sent out a newsletter containing advice about Coronavirus, which can be downloaded here. They have also issued notification about temporary changes to the Death Certification Review Service’s (DCRS) administration of applications for repatriation, which can be read here.

Advice from NHS England can be found here.

Advice from NHS Scotland can be found here.

Advice from Public Health Wales can be found here.

Members are advised to regularly check the government and NHS websites for the latest advice and guidance.

ICCM guidance on pandemic planning can be found here.

The National Association of Funeral Directors has published useful guidance on pandemic planning, which can be found here. Supporting documents can be found here.