MANILA- The Department of Health on Friday said that the body of the first novel coronavirus fatality has been finally laid to rest, but was short on details whether the patient was cremated.
Health Undersecretary Eric Domingo confirmed that the man's body and that of another patient who tested negative for novel coronavirus but died because of pneumonia “have been disposed properly already.”
“They are no longer in San Lazaro (Hospital),” Domingo said, assuring the public that safety procedures were followed.
Domingo declined to say if the 44-year-old's corpse was buried in a public cemetery, as earlier suggested by Health Secretary Francisco Duque.
“I cannot divulge for privacy reasons and for the dignity of the buried,” he said, however refusing to deny or confirm that a burial took place.
Earlier, the DOH said funeral parlors were refusing to cremate the body of the first n-CoV related death outside China.
Domingo said the cadaver does not pose health hazards, "as long as it is handled and buried properly."
The 44-year-old Chinese man came to the Philippines from Wuhan city, the epicenter of the 2019 novel coronavirus acute respiratory disease (2019-nCoV ARD), on January 21 with his partner. While his 38-year-old partner has recovered, the man died on February 1.
Health Secretary Francisco Duque III earlier lamented that the health agency was unable to have the body cremated due to fears that the cadaver still had the virus, which has already infected 30,000 people and killed more than 600 mostly in China.