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Shortage of Coffins, Italian Struggles to Bury Its Covid-19 dead

Photos credit to reuters |  theguardian

Italy’s death toll is now the highest in the world at 10,023. Fatalities passed the grim milestone on Saturday, with an increase of 889 since the last figures were released on Friday, according to Italy’s Civil Protection Agency.

Credit : Guardian

With 92,472 confirmed cases, Italy appears to have the highest death rate on the planet. Compare it to China, the epicenter of the pandemic, which has a roughly similar number of confirmed cases at 81,997, but under one third as many deaths, at 3,299, according to Johns Hopkins University and Medicine.

Coffins awaiting burial are lining up in churches and the corpses of those who died at home are being kept in sealed-off rooms for days as funeral services struggle to cope in Bergamo, the Italian province hardest hit by the coronavirus pandemic.

Covid-19 had killed more than 10,000 people across Italy, all buried or cremated without ceremony. Those who die in hospital do so alone, with their belongings left in bags beside coffins before being collected by funeral workers.

Credit : Guardian

The situation has become so intense to the extend that the army was brought in to move hundreds of coffins from the cemetery in Bergamo town and take them to Modena and Bologna in Emilia-Romagna.

There are about 80 funeral companies across Bergamo, each receiving dozens of calls an hour. A shortage of coffins as providers struggle to keep up with demand and funeral workers becoming infected with the virus are also hampering preparations.

Hospitals have adopted more stringent rules regarding the handling of the dead, who need to be placed in a coffin straight away without being clothed due to the risk of infection posed by their bodies.

Credit : CNN

“Families can’t see their loved ones or give them a proper funeral. This is a big problem on a psychological level,” said Antonio Ricciardi, CFB – the area’s largest funeral parlour’s director. “But also because many of our staff are ill, we don’t have as many people to transport and prepare the bodies.”

“Usually you would be able to dress them and they would stay one night in the family home. None of this is happening,” said Alessandro, whose 74-year-old uncle died in Lombardy town where the outbreak began. “You can’t even see them to say goodbye, this is the most devastating part.”

Our prayers and thoughts are with you, Italian. 

Fellow Malaysian, Please # StayAtHome to protect yourself and your loved ones..

Source : Guardian | CNN