New guidelines have been drawn up by health chiefs to avoid infection when dealing with the remains of those who have died of Sars. Under the revised post-mortem guidelines issued last month the coroner should waive autopsies on Sars victims. Concerns over possible infection from remains surfaced after a man contracted the virus after visiting a funeral home in Toronto, Canada. As of yesterday, 179 people have died and according to the Department of Health no autopsies have been carried out. It is understood that the majority of families have had the remains of their relatives returned and cremations have already been carried out. The guidelines recommend minimising the potential spread of the virus by limiting full post-mortem procedures to lung and other tests. It also limits the number of people involved in carrying out the tests to a pathologist and a mortuary technician. Sars remains are given a category two classification - one category lower than for Aids. This means the body must be double bagged, first in a clear plastic bag with both ends tied and then into another robust plastic bag with a zip before leaving the ward. A yellow tag indicating category two should be tied prominently on the outside to alert people of the contents. It also stated that staff handling the remains of Sars victims should be totally covered with protective gear. Protective outer garments should be removed when leaving the immediate autopsy area and discarded. The guidelines also listed eight points for relatives, saying there should be minimal contact with the remains of victims. This has curtailed some of the more traditional funeral rites such as viewing the body. Although limited viewing is allowed, physical contact is impossible. Health officials said it was unclear how long the virus remains in the body. A 44-year-old man died in Canada after exposing himself to the virus during a visit to Toronto's Highland Funeral Home. A Department of Health spokeswoman said there has been no similar case here.