No wake allowed before cremation of COVID-19 victims in Mexico City

Mexico City, Apr 18 (efe-epa).- Cremation without wakes for COVID-19 victims are part of the protocol that funeral homes have to comply with in Mexico City, where the novel coronavirus has so far caused 136 deaths.

Jesus Rodriguez, who runs the Balbuena Funeral Home, right next to the hospital of the same name in the capital, has so far dealt with “ten or fifteen” bodies of COVID-19 patients.

“We review the death certificate before removing the body. And in the hospitals they are already putting a label on those who are from COVID (cases),” he said.

The employees of his funeral home visit the hospital morgue in overalls paid for by Rodriguez, which “give cover from head to toe and is completely closed,” complying with the protocol established by the city’s health ministry.

“The equipment is used in the moment and discarded in the moment. Both gloves and masks, and complete overalls,” Jesus Rodriguez, owner of a funeral home in the Mexican capital, told EFE.

Across the country, 546 people have died as a result of the coronavirus and 6,875 cases have been reported.

“The crematorium is told to keep a furnace ready. After that, the procedure is done directly before the judge of the civil registry, and (the body) is taken to the furnace,” he added.

However, the federal health authorities on Friday banned the cremation of unclaimed bodies of coronavirus victims.

Rodriguez confirmed that on account of the nature of the epidemic, there is no wake for those who die due to the virus, a complicated and “very painful” situation for family members.

“We tell them with a bit of calm so that they don’t get bothered. They are explained why this is happening and in some way, they are aware,” he said, underlining the information already disseminated by “television, the Ministry of Health and doctors.”

However, Rodriguez said that hospitals sometimes simply facilitate the removal of the body, but do not explain the burial protocol to relatives.

Given this particular situation, the owner of the Balbuena funeral home stressed, above all, the “respect” for the bodies given by his employees despite these strict protocols.

“People are going through a very sad time. We as a funeral agency support them as much as possible and give them a better service, so that… it gives a certain peace of mind to the family members,” he said.

On Friday, the Mexico City authorities ruled out the practice of funerals and autopsies for people who died of COVID-19.

The government’s protocol for people who die as a result of the coronavirus deals with health and legal procedures for deaths in hospitals, homes and public spaces. EFE-EPA


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