Coronavirus

FD calls for further Covid research to ease pain of bereavement

Currently the official advice from the Royal College of Pathologists and adopted by the government is there is the possibility of “a small risk to visitors from contact with the deceased

London funeral director Paul McLean of Integrity Funeral Care is calling for government-backed research into the risks of Covid-19 being caught from the dead.

Integrity Funeral Care specialises in African Caribbean funerals where traditionally caskets are open during the service, but this is currently banned because of Covid restrictions.

Currently the official advice from the Royal College of Pathologists and adopted by the government is there is the possibility of “a small risk to visitors from contact with the deceased”.

With the recent addition of covid-safe embalming process, families are able to legally visit the departed at a Chapel of Rest, but the same body cannot be open to view days or weeks later at the funeral.

McClean has called this decision “baffling” and as such urging the government for official research to be undertaken.

He said: “I’m not aware of any research that has been carried out anywhere in the world to discover whether the virus can be passed from the dead to the living. What’s more, I can find no reports of cases of mortuary staff contracting the illness. Everyone needs to be kept safe, but we’re assuming a risk where there may be none at all, and that is causing great distress to a lot of people who are already dealing with a death in the family.

“With limits on the number of mourners, social distancing in churches, crematoria and at gravesides and the inability of relatives to come from abroad, let alone get together in the way they normally would when someone dies, there are already a lot of stresses being heaped on people who’ve been bereaved.”

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