COVID-19: guidance for care of the deceased

Advice to assist people required to manage bodies of deceased persons infected with coronavirus (COVID-19).



This guidance contains information for:

  • first responders managing a death in the community
  • general practitioners (GPs) managing a death outside of a healthcare setting
  • those who are managing a death in secondary care
  • staff in residential care settings including care homes and hospices
  • funeral directors and others managing a death in the community
  • staff and appropriately trained volunteers who manage deceased people suspected or confirmed as infected with coronavirus (COVID-19) including:
    • coroners
    • mortuary operators
    • pathologists and anatomical pathology technologists
    • medical practitioners
    • funeral directors and embalmers
  • those who are participating in or supporting faith and belief practices that involve close contact with the deceased
  • those involved in the transport of the deceased

Please note: this guidance is of a general nature and should be treated as a guide, and in the event of any conflict between any applicable legislation (including the health and safety legislation) and this guidance, the applicable legislation shall prevail.

Published 31 March 2020
Last updated 4 February 2021 + show all updates
  1. Updated to reflect current legislation and added links to guidance on working safely during the COVID-19 pandemic.

  2. Updated self-isolation period to 10 days.

  3. Changed stay at home period from 7 to 10 days.

  4. Added a loss of, or change in, the normal sense of taste or smell as a COVID-19 symptom.

  5. Added clarification on guidance and legislation.

  6. Updated guidance on sharing information with others, residual risk of infection from the deceased and the use of body bags, and the use of PPE for those who are responsible for care of the deceased.

  7. Added translated versions of guidance.

  8. First published.