Public Health England has published new guidance to ensure funerals are conducted safely after consulting with faith leaders.
The new guidelines are consistent with social distancing principles, which include advising funeral directors and faith leaders to restrict the number of mourners who attend funerals.
The guidelines mention that 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.
In addition, the guidance advises that since there is a small but real risk of transmission from the body of a deceased person, mourners are strongly advised not to take part in any rituals or practices that bring them into close contact with the body of a person who has died from or with symptoms of Covid-19.
Practices that involve close personal contact with the deceased should only be carried out using the correct personal protective equipment (PPE).
Professor Paul Cosford, emeritus medical director, Public Health England, said: ”Losing a loved one is a sad and distressing experience and funerals are important and personal. During this very difficult time for the country, our aim is to protect the most vulnerable from the spread of coronavirus.
“We are encouraging all mourners to practise social distancing at funerals for the time being. This sadly means limiting the number of mourners to immediate households and closest family members.”