Covid-19: People 'turning up to funerals' contributing to virus spread

ireland
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Vivienne Clarke

Funeral directors are appealing for people to keep ceremonies to a minimum to stop the spread of Covid-19.

It comes in the wake of remarks made by the Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan, who identified funerals as one of the areas where cases are emerging.

Despite some positive trends last week, cases have started to creep up again this week, casting some doubt over whether the country will exit level 5 restrictions as planned in the coming weeks.

A spokesperson for the Irish Association of Funeral Directors has said that it was people “turning up for funerals” and not adhering to guidelines who were leading to an increase of Covid cases connected to funerals.

Mary Cunniffe told RTÉ radio that the association had been disappointed to see the chief medical officer’s report on the issue, but the information “did not come as a huge surprise.”

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The association had been working with many groups to ensure that funerals were observed within the boundaries of correct Covid guidelines, she said.

It was unfortunate that there was some noncompliance , she said, with people “turning up to funerals” and not adhering to guidelines with regard to wearing face masks, hand hygiene and observing social distance.

Ms Cunniffe said the funeral directors “strongly recommend” to families to keep details of funeral arrangements to a minimum. In the main, funeral directors, churches, crematoria, clergy and humanist celebrants were all observing restrictions, she said.

But they had no control over occasions such as wakes or to dissuade people from calling to the home of the bereaved.

Ms Cunniffe also expressed concern that some media platforms were publishing details about reposing when such arrangements should not be publicised.

There was no pressure on people to attend funerals, there were other ways in which they could extend condolences such as making a telephone call, sending cards or flowers, she said.

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