No wakes allowed: Coronavirus fatalities denied of burial rites

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 26 2020 11:26 AM

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MANILA - Patients who died due to the novel coronavirus are deprived of traditional funeral rites as bodies must be buried 12 hours after death.

Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said protocols are in place on how remains of patients suspected to have the virus and those who tested positive for COVID-19 are handled.

"Dahil ito ay bagong virus, mabuti 'yung may extra precautions kaya nga sabi natin 'yung kanilang cadaver bag balutin talaga, selyado at spray-an ng sodium hydrochloride. Maige na 'yun na magkamali man, magkamali sa panig ng kaligtasan," he said in a radio DZMM interview.

The Philippines has so far recorded 38 deaths from COVID-19 as of Wednesday. The total confirmed COVID-19 cases is now at 636.

But the deadly virus is depriving grieving families the right to give their departed loved ones a dignified send-off.

"Sa Italy nagtetext o nag vi-video nagpapaalam dahil halos wala nang burial rites. Dire-direcho na lang," he said.

On Wednesday, the Philippine government released the guidelines on handling of COVID-19 fatalities and warned funeral service facilities with penalties if they refuse to provide services.