Zimbabwe bans traditional funerals as Covid-19 cases surge

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Zimbabwe has banned families from transporting dead relatives to their areas of birth for burial following a surge in Covid-19 cases after the festive season that saw the country imposing a stricter lockdown on January 4.

Police also banned public viewing of bodies and the tradition of having a corpse stay overnight in the family’s home before burial.

“Police will only clear body movements for burial straight from a funeral parlour/hospital mortuary to the burial site,” said Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi.

The drastic measures were, however, criticised by the Zimbabwe Association for Human Rights Doctors (ZAHDR), which said the approach was not grounded by science.

The United States Centres for Disease Control notes that “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.”

As of January 11, Zimbabwe had recorded 22,297 Covid-19 cases with 528 deaths and 13,213 recoveries.

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Olajumoke Adeleke

 

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