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Brazil: As the coronavirus death toll rises, Sao Paulo authorities order exhumation of old corpses to make burial space for COVID-19 casualties

Sao Paulo's municipal funeral service said in a statement on Friday that the remains of people who died at least three years ago in Brazil will be exhumed and put in numbered bags, then stored temporarily in 12 storage containers it has purchased.

As Brazil surpasses the United Kingdom to become the country with the world’s second-highest death toll due to the Chinese virus, its has started vacating it’s largest cemetery at Sao Paulo, making room for other coronavirus casualties. According to reports, the Brazillian authorities have instructed the Sao Paulo’s municipal funeral service to dig up the bones of people buried in the past and store their bagged remains in large metal containers.

People who died at least three years ago in Brazil will be exhumed to make room for coronavirus casualties

Sao Paulo’s municipal funeral service said in a statement Friday that the remains of people who died at least three years ago will be exhumed and put in numbered bags, then stored temporarily in 12 storage containers it has purchased. These containers would then be delivered to several cemeteries within 15 days, the statement confirmed.

The remains of people who died at least three years ago in Brazil are being exhumed and put in numbered bags, image via OneIndia

Sao Paulo has emerged as one of the coronavirus hotspots, recording almost 5,480 deaths in a single day on Thursday. And authorities expect this number to rise after Mayor Bruno Covas has announced a partial opening up of businesses this week. Soon after, the public were seen disregarding social distancing norms and gathering in malls and crowding public transport. The experts opined that the decline in intensive care bed occupancy to about 70 per cent prompted Mayor Bruno Covas to open up businesses in the country and now that people are out in streets, the health experts fear that a surge in the number of new cases and deaths due to the infection is inevitable.

Brazil becomes the country with the world’s second-highest covid related death toll

Many health experts are of the opinion that the coronavirus pandemic in Brazil will peak sometime in August. The death toll due to the deadly pathogen has already reached 42000, making it the country with the world’s second-highest death toll as on June 12 (Friday).

Dr. Michael Ryan, the World Health Organization’s emergencies chief, said Friday that the situation in Brazil remains “of concern.”

“Overall the health system is still coping in Brazil, although, having said that, with the sustained number of severe cases that remains to be seen,” Ryan said.

According to reports, the workers at Vila Formosa buried almost 1,654 people in April which was atleast 500 more than what they buried the previous month. Though the numbers for May and June aren’t yet available, it is being believed that in the recent weeks the figures have more than doubled.

Meanwhile, the remains stored in the metal containers will eventually be moved to a public ossuary, according to the statement from the city’s funeral office. Its superintendent, Thiago Dias da Silva, told media that the containers have been used before and they are more practical and affordable than building new ossuaries.

On Saturday, Brazil recorded 21,704 new coronavirus cases taking the total number of cases to 850,514 in the country. With 892 new Covid-19 deaths in the country the toll stood at over 42720 according to the heath ministry data released on Saturday, which put’s the country coronavirus mortality rate at 5 per cent.

Concerns over burial spaces have been reported in Delhi too. With increasing death toll, it has been reported that the main Muslim graveyards in the national capital may soon run out of burial spaces for coronavirus patients.


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