A number of councils across the United Kingdom are banning funeral ceremonies amid the spread of the coronavirus crisis, it has been reported on Saturday.
Bradford, Leeds and Kirklees councils have told families that they will be unable to attend services at crematoria. The councils are instead offering “direct cremations”, where the is no ceremony, no standing by burial services at gravesides, and only 10 mourners following physical distancing guidelines may attend.
Bradford council said in a statement that the move to end funeral services had been “very difficult”.
“These are unprecedented times. I never thought that we would have to make the sad decisions which we are having to make in terms of the services we provide. Our first consideration is that we have to protect people from this virus to ensure that the health and wellbeing of those that we work with, the public, council staff, partners and stakeholders is protected", Cllr Sarah Ferriby said on Wednesday.
Increasingly, there are cases of people who have been buried or cremated with no immediate family able to attend.
The direct relatives of 13-year old Ismail Mohamed Abdulwahab, who died of the coronavirus at Kings College hospital on Friday, were unable to attend his funeral due to their isolating following a brother and sister also showing symptoms of the virus.
Public Health England (PHE) published guidelines last week, advising funeral directors and faith leaders to limit the number of mourners who are attending funerals, and to ensure people remain in line with distancing regulations and stand 2 metres apart.
“Only members of the deceased person’s household or close family members should attend funerals. Any individual displaying symptoms of Covid-19 should not attend. Those who do attend will need to adhere to social distancing at all times, including when travelling to and from the funeral", PHE said.
Due to the “small but real risk of of transmission from the body of a deceased person”, rituals or practices that require mourners to come into close contact with the deceased will require the use of sufficient personal protective equipment.