•They May Not Get Proper Burial
Coronavirus is a disease that has infected more than 134,500 people worldwide. More than 134,500 people have been infected globally and over 4,900 have died, according to a Reuters tally of government announcements posted on 13 March 2020.
There is no doubt that the pandemic has gradually changed the way many countries in the world now treat their dead most especially those who died during COVID-19 ravage worldwide.
For centuries, Hindus gathered to burn corpses on pyres along the Ganges River. Jews received condolences at home during a seven-day mourning period. Muslims huddle together to wash corpses of loved ones in Iraq and across the Arab world. But global burial rituals are being dramatically changed by the Coronavirus pandemic.
The World Health Organisation in its March 24 guidance on the burial of COVID-19 victims says dead bodies are generally not infectious. But its recommendations that relatives must not touch or kiss the body and government rules on social distancing to prevent the spread of the disease have upended important funeral and death rituals in virtually all of the world’s faiths. Just as the United States now restricts gatherings for funerals, so do countries and religious authorities around the world.
A few days ago, Lagos Commissioner for Health, Prof Akin Abayomi revealed that a victim of COVID-19 is dead doesn’t make the disease dead as it takes many days for the virus to die, therefore, their dead bodies shouldn’t be touched at all. This must-have accounted for the reasons the dead victims of COVID-19 are not yet buried in Nigeria. The investigation revealed that many people who died from COVID-19 are not being given befitting burial according to their faith and religion?
The question then is? Is COVID-19 dead body-safe after the victim’s death? The answer is that viruses don’t die but COVID-19 is a new Virus but according to the question on how contagious this disease is after the victim of COVID-19 is dead? News 13 reached out to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Funeral Directors Association for guidance on this question. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said COVID-19 is a new disease and “we are still learning how it spreads.
“There is currently no known risk associated with being in the same room at a funeral or visitation service with the body of someone who died of COVID-19,” the CDC said. The virus that causes COVID-19 is thought to mainly spread from close contact (i.e., within about 6 feet) with a person who is sick with COVID-19. The virus likely spreads primarily through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes, similar to how influenza and other respiratory infections spread. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs. This type of spread is not a concern after a death. Is it possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouths, noses or possibly their eyes, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads?
“People should consider not touching the body of someone who has died of COVID-19. Older people and people of all ages with severe underlying health conditions are at higher risk of developing serious COVID-19 illness,” the CDC said. “There may be less of a chance of the virus spreading from certain types of touching, such as holding the hand or hugging after the body has been prepared for viewing.
Other activities, such as kissing, washing and shrouding should be avoided before, during and after the body has been prepared, if possible. If washing the body or shrouding is an important religious or cultural practices, families are encouraged to work with their community’s cultural and religious leaders and funeral home staff on how to reduce their exposure as much as possible.”
Families are free to choose whether they want their loved one buried or cremated. How do Muslims now bury those who died of COVID-19? Are they buried immediately according to the Islamic faith? The answer is ‘no’. The dead bodies are left with government and this has jeopardized the belief that the Muslim faithful should be buried immediately they died before dusk. Of course, the China Town can keep their dead at the mosque, but the question is will they be washed and their lying in state done, the answer may be ‘No’.