Blue light teams to collect bodies from London homes

Special “blue light” teams of police, NHS staff and firefighters are to be deployed across London to collect the bodies of potentially hundreds of coronavirus victims who die at home.

Each team will attend any home where a person suspected of being infected with Covid-19 has lost their life.

They will record the death, checking that there are no suspicious circumstances, and remove the body to a mortuary after ensuring that it is wrapped to prevent any risk of infection.

The teams are being set up because of projections that up to 30 per cent of all deaths in the capital from the virus will take place outside hospital.

The scale of the death toll is expected to be too large for undertakers to cope.

Eight teams have already been formed with each made up of two police officers, an NHS technician and a firefighter to drive the vehicle that will be used to transport the body. But as many as 24 could be set up if the loss of life escalates as anticipated over the coming weeks, when health officials expect the impact of Covid-19 to peak.

On each occasion when one of the new teams is called to a home where a death suspected of being caused by coronavirus has occurred, precautions will be taken to prevent those attending contracting the virus.

Checks will be conducted to determine whether the victim had the disease. The NHS technician will contact a doctor for the death to be certified remotely before the corpse is removed.

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Family members who have been in contact with the victim will be advised that they will be unable to attend the funeral because of their exposure to the virus in what those organising the new teams describe as one of the “hardest” parts of their role.


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