DOH: No wakes for OFWs who died of coronavirus in Saudi
The Department of Health (DOH) on Thursday said the remains of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) who died of the new coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Saudi Arabia should be buried immediately once they arrive home.
While assuring that it would be safe to bring home the COVID-19 fatalities, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said their remains should be buried posthaste.
“As soon as [the body] arrives in the country, the casket cannot be opened. That’s part of the sanitation law. Second, it should be buried immediately, [the family] cannot hold a wake,” she said.
“The families, of course, may fetch the bodies of their loved ones but they should immediately have them buried, no wakes,” Vergeire stressed.
Double sealed casket
According to the health official, “based on our protocol, if you die from an infectious disease, immediately after death you should be sealed off, using two body bags. The casket should also be double sealed,” she said.
Vergeire also cited the laws on sanitation and on notifiable diseases that require the cremation or burial of infected bodies within 12 hours of death.
The government initially planned to have the bodies of the OFWs buried in Saudi Arabia but the families appealed to the government to bring them home.
“This is a special circumstance because cremation is not allowed in Saudi Arabia,” Vergeire said.
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