Closed coffin, minimum of relatives: how to bury the dead from COVID-19

The World Health Organization, in its March 24 victim burial guide COVID-19, states

that the bodies of the dead, as a rule, do not pose a threat of infection. At the same time, experts strongly recommend that relatives refuse to kiss and touch the body of the deceased.

In the guide to the burial of victims ofA new type of coronavirus for funeral workers released by the UK government says the risk of contracting SARS-CoV-2 victims is due to the generation of droplets of fluid as a result of artificial air movement during primary care for the deceased. In addition, the virus may remain on the body after a post-mortem examination using power tools.

At the same time, the Italian Federation of Enterprises,working in the field of energy, hydrology and the environment, in a letter to his staff, explains that after the death of a patient with confirmed COVID-19, air containing the virus can escape from the lungs. In addition, it may be in the fluids that the body secretes.

These measures are much milder than the rules.burial of victims of Ebola, in which the deceased may be dangerous to others for 50 days after death. However, the epidemic is widespread and greatly changes the rules for burial of the dead.

In some regions - for example, in northern Italyand in New York State, morgues and cemeteries are short of places, and the bodies of some coronavirus victims either remain unidentified or are not claimed by family members.

Traditional funerals are virtually ruled out due tofear of spreading the disease with a large crowd of people - all this makes relatives mourn the dead at a distance or watch the process through a computer monitor.

Even when close family members are allowed in personto attend the service, they still often have to keep a distance of 1.5 m from each other. This means that coronavirus, which intervened in such a large part of life, similarly affects all aspects of death.


All coronavirus deaths die inisolated boxes, and parting often takes place without friends and relatives. In Italy, during the COVID-19 epidemic, a law prohibits religious ceremonies and the funeral itself in the traditional sense.

In the most affected areas of the country are heldshort ceremonies without traditional processions from the residence to the cemetery. Funeral bureau employees are involved in their organization - first they select the coffin, coordinating its shape, type and material with the relatives of the deceased via a messenger, take the body from the hospital on their own, take it to the church for a short burial service, and then to the cemetery or crematorium.

However, due to the large number of deathsthe procedure does not always look like this. On March 18, bodies were transported from the hospitals of Bergamo, the epicenter of the epidemic in Italy. The army delivered the bodies of 61 dead to cremation sites in 12 Italian cities, including Modena and Parma. The authorities took such a step because of the overload of the local crematorium and the lack of places in city cemeteries.

In Spain, families can say goodbye to their loved ones only at a distance - public funerals are prohibited.


February 1 National Health CommissionChina issued a decree stating that all victims who died from coronavirus should be cremated at the nearest facility. “No farewell ceremonies or other funeral events involving the corpse should be held,” the announcement said.

In late January, Wuhan and most of China wereclosed to strict quarantine, so families of victims of COVID-19 until recently have been extremely difficult to collect the ashes of their loved ones. Now the authorities of Wuhan, which suffered the most deaths in the country, give out ashes for burial only by appointment - the queue for it has already stretched for several weeks.


In Russia, in accordance with the recommendation of the Ministry of Health, the dead from COVID-19 are buried in closed coffins. Farewell ceremonies are not prohibited, however, they can be attended by "a minimum of people."

Those present must wear masks and gloves,maintain a social distance, and after the procedure - undergo mandatory disinfection. In contact with the relatives of the deceased, funeral agency employees must observe a distance of 2 meters - including in the cemetery.

There are no restrictions on the burial place, according to representatives of the Ministry of Health. At the same time, the Rospotrebnadzor declares that the farewell ceremony during the epidemic takes place without the participation of relatives.


In the United States, the state of New York turned out to be the epicenter of the epidemic of a new type of coronavirus - now there are more cases of it than in any other country in the world except the United States. The number of deaths exceeds 15 thousand.

Places in local morgues ended at the end of March - now there are mobile refrigerators near many hospitals where the bodies of the dead from COVID-19 are temporarily stored.

On April 6, New York authorities passed a resolution,according to which the families of the deceased have 14 days to organize the funeral of a relative. If this does not happen, his data will be cataloged, and the body will be buried at the mass burial site on the Bronx Island.


The highest number of confirmed cases of COVID-19recorded in the main city of Guayaquil. At the beginning of the outbreak in late March, morgues and hospitals in the country were overloaded, and a shortage of wooden coffins was recorded in the country. Then the authorities decided to bury the dead from a new type of coronavirus in cardboard coffins - relatives received 2 thousand of such coffins.

In this case, prior to burial, the corpses of those killed byCOVID-19 lay on the streets for several days - this is due to the overload of hospitals that could not accept all the sick. According to estimates by the head of the coronavirus control headquarters, Jorge Vateda, the number of deaths will increase and will be at least 4.5 thousand.