US funerals may have to be livestreamed as the coronavirus limits social gatherings
- The US Centres for Disease Control advised that events with more than 50 people, including funerals, be canceled or postponed for the next 8 weeks.
- In light of that, they advised funeral directors to livestream ceremonies.
- The concern is that people gathering together would help the spread of the novel coronavirus.
- South Africa has a limit of 100 people at events.
- For more stories go to www.BusinessInsider.co.za.
The US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has advised morticians to livestream funerals as officials across the country implement social distancing measures to limit the spread of the new coronavirus.
American funeral directors tuned into a livestream from the CDC on Monday to learn how to handle funerals in light of new guidance by the CDC on limiting large events.
The CDC had advised that gatherings of more 50 people should be canceled or postponed for the next eight weeks. Funerals that have less than 50 people can still be held. For larger ceremonies, livestreams could be used to allow more people to mourn. The alternative was suggested to limit the congregation of people and also allow family members who can't attend to be a part of it.
South Africa has a limit of 100 people at events.
In Spain, at least 60 cases of COVID-19, the name for the disease caused by the coronavirus, were traced back to one funeral in the Basque city of Vitoria-Gasteiz, The Guardian reported.
The CDC did note that the risk comes from people interacting with each other, and there is no evidence to suggest that the virus that causes COVID-19 can be spread after a person has died, like in the case of Ebola, where the virus can still live and spread for about a week after an infected person dies.
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"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.
They do still advise against touching the body of some who died from the new coronavirus. The organisation said holding the hand or hugging the body of someone who died from COVID-19 after the body's been prepared has "less of a chance" of allowing the virus to spread.
However, if possible, people should not kiss, wash, and shroud the body at any point. If any of those activities are necessary for religious or cultural reasons, personal protective equipment should be used.
US funeral directors are worried that they could be exposed to the virus when interacting with the family of someone who died from COVID-19, Vice reported.
Kevin Desmond, the President of, AJ Desmond & Sons funeral home in Detroit, Michigan, told local outlet WXYZ the home will most likely have family-only services and that some families have already called to postpone memorial services.
The group is also offering free live-streams of services for those who can't attend.
In Ireland, a Bishop has asked people to only attend funerals for immediate family or close friends, RTÉ reported.
In general, the CDC suggest funeral homes should encourage proper hand hygiene and offer hand sanitiser to visitors, as well as ensuring facilities are cleaned properly.
For more information direct from the source, see also:
- the National Institute for Communicable Disease (NICD)
- the latest statements issued by the national government
- the Twitter stream of health minister Dr Zweli Mkhize
- the World Health Organisation's Covic-19 outbreak page
The NICD hotline for Covid-19 is: 0800-029-999.
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