DOH mulls nationwide closure of cemeteries for Undas to prevent COVID-19 spread

Kristine Sabillo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 14 2020 12:26 PM

DOH mulls nationwide closure of cemeteries for Undas to prevent COVID-19 spread 1
Clark John and TJ Omictin along with their friend Julbert Billanes visit their relatives and apply a new coat of paint to the grave of Billanes' mother-in-law and grandmother-in-law at the San Juan City Cemetery on September 10, 2020, as Mayor Francis Zamora announced through an executive order the temporary closure of public and private memorial parks, cemeteries, and columbaries from October 30 to November 3. The order aims to limit mass gatherings during All Saints Day and All Souls Day to curb the spread of COVID-19 during the period. Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News

MANILA — Following the decision of Metro Manila mayors to close cemeteries during the observance of All Saints' Day and All Souls' Day to prevent the spread of COVID-19, the Department of Health said it will consider recommending the same across the country. 

“What or Metro Manila mayors did is good practice,” Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said in Filipino during a virtual briefing on Monday.

Asked if the temporary closure is something they would recommend nationwide, Vergeire said, “So pag dumating yung panahon na yan maaaring makapagrecommend din tayo so it can be recommended across the country.”

(When the time comes, we can recommend that as well across the country.)

“Alam natin pag Undas talagang yung mga tao siksikan sa sementaryo (We know that during All Saints’ Day, cemeteries get really crowded with people). And that is mass gathering already and we would like to prevent that,” she added.

Vergeire said it is also apt that the mayors announced it early so residents may have a chance to visit the graves of their loved ones.

Manila was among the first to order the closure of cemeteries from October 31 to November 1.

The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority later said that all Metro Manila mayors agreed to have the cemeteries in their cities closed.