Cremation of people who die of COVID stays: DOH

Raphael Bosano and Vivienne Gulla, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 03 2022 04:03 PM | Updated as of Aug 03 2022 06:31 PM

Workers process the body of fatalities during the enhanced community quarantine in Metro Manila at the Baesa Crematorium in Novaliches on May 5, 2020. Fernando G. Sepe Jr., ABS-CBN News/file
Workers process the body of fatalities during the enhanced community quarantine in Metro Manila at the Baesa Crematorium in Novaliches on May 5, 2020. Fernando G. Sepe Jr., ABS-CBN News/file

MANILA – The Department of Health (DOH) is not keen on changing existing protocols for COVID-19-related deaths, particularly the cremation of the deceased. 

At the sidelines of the “PinasLakas” campaign in Rosario, Cavite, DOH Officer-In-Charge Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire reminded the public that the cremation of those who died from COVID-19 is part of the law. 

“We have that not as part of our restrictions but as part of sanitation not just here in the Philippines but all over the world. We can never remove that,” she said. 

According to a DOH memorandum released last March 2020, cremation should be done for dead people suspected or confirmed to have had COVID-19.

This, even after the government has eased much of its restrictions and over 71 million individuals are fully vaccinated against COVID-19. 

The health official explained that a person who dies from an infectious disease can remain infectious hours after death. 

The move was also supported by Dr. Rontgene Solante, an infectious disease specialist.

"Being in a pandemic, all protocols will remain in effect including handling of cadaver, whether vaccinated or unvaccinated. We don’t want to relax that, because a cadaver, if not properly handled, can still be risky to contaminate and transfer [the] infection to those handling it," he said.

Meanwhile, a decrease in the number of COVID deaths was seen at a crematorium in Mandaluyong City.

“Unlike last two years talagang marami, pero itong year na ito, napaka-minimal na," said Andy Natividad, Garden of Light Park's officer-in-charge.

(Unlike the last two years we cater to lots of fatalities, but this year's deaths we're just minimal.)

Data from the DOH show that from July 25 to 31, 44 additional deaths occurred. 

The Philippines has logged over 60,000 deaths from the respiratory disease.

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