Connecting Directors reports that as the death toll from the novel coronavirus outbreak steadily increases in China, officials are swiftly adjusting death care practices to prevent further spread of infection. Elsewhere Chinese crematorium workers accuse their gorvernment of implementing "Draconian Measures" to deal with the outbreak.

As of Tuesday, February 4, there had been more than 420 coronavirus deaths in China, up from 106 a week earlier. The Chinese government also reports more than 20,000 confirmed cases. This is about 15,000 more cases than during the 2003 SARS outbreak. Infections have now been reported in at least 23 countries, with two countries reporting deaths.

Death care impact

On Saturday, February 1, China’s National Health Commission (NHC) issued the following regulations for handling deceased victims:

  • Medical staff are required to disinfect and seal the remains; breaking the seal is forbidden
  • Medical staff will issue a death certificate, notify the family, and then notify local funeral services
  • Funeral services will collect the body and directly cremate the remains; they will then issue a cremation certificate
  • No one is permitted to visit the remains during this process

These regulations apply to the entire country of China. In Wuhan city, the epicenter of the outbreak, officials are providing free cremation services for coronavirus victims. Memorial services or public gatherings of any kind are also prohibited.

Meanwhile, according to The Washington Examiner, a crematorium worker in Wuhan, China, confirmed that officials are working at an alarming pace to burn the bodies of the deceased in the city amid the coronavirus outbreak. "We need to pick up bodies when they call us. Every day, we need at least 100 body bags," a crematorium worker named Mr. Yun told the Epoch Times. “We can’t stop because we can’t leave the bodies outside for a long time."

Wuhan officials were accused of cremating the dead in secret last week, and Mr. Yun claimed the rumors are true as China adopts "draconian measures" to treat the outbreak.