No viewing at COVID funerals, says Lyn
Calvin Lyn, president of the Jamaica Association of Certified Embalmers and Funeral Directors, said undertakers are not afraid to deal with the bodies of those who died from COVID-19.
"We are trained, qualified and equipped because we have been dealing with similar things ... We have the personal protective equipment and our staff to handle those cases," Lyn said.
Jamaica has recorded nine COVID-19 related deaths. The Ministry of Health and Wellness has established protocols for the handling of bodies as it notes that all such remains are potentially infectious.
"Infectious agents can be transmitted when persons are in contact with blood, body fluids or tissues of dead body of a person with infectious diseases," the ministry said.
Lyn, in an interview with THE WEEKEND STAR, said "The first choice for COVID death is to cremate". He said, however, that "based on the decision by family members and maybe their Christian connections, they might ask for the regular burial. But it would have to take place as quickly as possible and no viewing can take place."
Persons who died from COVID-19 will not be embalmed as "we are not certain how long the virus lives," Lyn said.
In the meantime, Lyn said that the increase in the number of persons allowed at funerals is unlikely to pose a problem for undertakers. Local Government minister Desmond McKenzie on Tuesday said that the number has been increased from 10 to 15, following a discussion a recomendation from undertakers.
"If it was 10 before and you get a five to increase, that won't be any problem and remember, as for the COVID funerals, there will be no viewing. For regular ones, once the six feet distance rule is enforced by the Government and us, the funeral directors and embalmers, persons will have to view and go home and the immediate relatives can stay and be at a distance within the church," he said.