Coronavirus

Hancock ‘regrets’ banning close relatives from funerals

Health secretary Matt Hancock has admitted banning people from going to funerals of families was a mistake amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

At the start of the pandemic, the government set out guidelines that while funerals were still allowed to go ahead, only immediate family attending with an initial limit of between 5-10 mourners..

In a webchat, Hancock branded the guidance issued as a “mistake” and regretted that it had been “really strongly interpreted”, according to The Telegraph.

Hancock said: “We put out social distancing guidance, which was really strongly interpreted, and it meant that in the peak of the pandemic, lots of people didn’t go to the funeral even of someone they’ve been married to for 50 years.

“And there was a little boy from south London who was buried without his parents there, and that really affected me. So we realised we’d made a mistake and we changed the guidance.”

Most recently, The National Society of Allied and Independent Funeral Directors (SAIF) has welcomed clarification from the government that funerals can be attended by up to 30 people in places of worship in England.

The new rule states that funerals should have no more than 30 people in attendance. Attendance should also be within the capacity limits of the premises so that social distancing can be strictly adhered to. In some cases that may be less than 30 people. 

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