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No, medics didn’t almost accidentally bury a Covid-19 patient alive

By Hillary Orinde and Gilbert Kimutai | August 24th 2020

A video posted across multiple social networking platforms shows health officials ripping off personal protective equipment from a man lying on the ground. Beside them is a white coffin.

The video, viewed tens of thousands of times, has been shared alongside a claim that it shows moments after health officials "discovered" they were almost burying a Covid-19 patient they had presumed dead.

In an apparent rejoinder, other posts said it showed a Ministry of Health official who had fainted as his team buried a Covid-19 victim in Kericho at the weekend.

'No resurrection'

The three-minutes and 39 second-clip, however, has been shared in a misleading context.

Patients who succumb to the coronavirus are not buried in PPEs but packed inside two leak-proof and tamper-proof body bags.

The Standard Digital Fact Check Desk has established that the video was filmed on August 13, 2020, in Chesoen village, Bomet Central and showed a relative who had fainted during his kin’s burial.

This was corroborated by multiple sources, including Bomet County Public Health and Medical Services CEC Joseph Sitonik who was aware of the incident.

Sitonik said the man had requested to be part of the burial.

Government protocols for the burial of patients who die of coronavirus dictate that relatives and friends are allowed to conduct the burial but only under the watch of public health officials.

"The family requested that one of their members be provided with PPEs to accompany our team to the burial site. Unfortunately, he fainted after wearing the protective gear," Sitonik said on phone.

The CEC added that he believed the man was tensed up and emotionally affected by the death of the relative.

"He received first aid and immediately recovered. We have since done a follow-up and found that he is doing well," he said, adding, "Ignore the rumours that someone resurrected or was still alive at the time he was being buried. We do not bury those who die of Covid in PPEs."

As per the guidelines issued by the Ministry of Health for the safe disposal of bodies of Covid-19 victims, bodies should be placed in two body bags, which can then be put in a casket for burial.

Religious and cultural burial practices are permitted as long as they do not involve contact with the body.

The health worker present during the burial of a Covid-19 victim must ensure that the casket is handled using personal protective equipment at all time.

This is an initiative of the Standard Group to combat fake news, misinformation and disinformation. If there’s something you want us to look into, email [email protected]

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