By Noreen Jazul
The Department of Health (DOH) said it has been “struggling” to find a funeral service provider that would cremate the body of the 44-year-old man from Wuhan, China who died from the 2019 novel coronavirus acute respiratory disease (2019-nCoV ARD).
In a television interview with CNN Philippines Tuesday, Health Secretary Francisco Duque said the cremation of the Chinese man’s body kept being delayed because the funeral service providers they talked to backed out.
“It’s very unfortunate they’re backing out, and these are Chinese as well, so I don’t understand,” Duque said.
The health secretary said the cremation was supposed to be done Tuesday, but he will still check whether the provider has not “changed his mind.”
“We’ve been struggling. There were many groups who initially said they will cremate, they will bury in a Chinese cemetery only to find out that they changed their minds and did not want to cremate anymore,” Duque said.
Duque then appealed to the Chinese community to help in processing the cremation of the 44-year-old man, and future cases if there will be any.
“They should help in this case or in future cases. If they have cemeteries or cremation facilities, they should help, not discriminate,” he said.
When asked if the DOH designated a group to process the burial of nCoV patients who would die, Duque said: “Wala pa (We haven’t yet), because we are still hopeful that this fatality ratio will remain lower than it already is,”
‘Would a dead nCoV patient still be infectious?’
The DOH said it is still unknown whether the 2019-nCoV ARD will be “inactivated” once the person who acquired it dies.
“Normally, the microorganism also dies with the mortal, but how long will it survive? This is a new virus that not much is really known and is just evolving, that’s why it’s very difficult to say for sure,” Duque said.
If the virus dies, the question of “how long after the person dies?” remains, Duque said.