'Immediate cremation' for repatriated OFWs who died of COVID-19: health dept

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jun 29 2020 09:49 AM | Updated as of Jun 29 2020 01:17 PM

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The remains of migrant workers who died of the novel coronavirus will be immediately cremated upon their return to the Philippines, the health department said Monday. 

COVID-19 fatalities should be cremated or buried within 12 hours after their death. But cremation is banned in Saudi Arabia, where some 50 overseas Filipino workers reportedly died due to the pandemic, said Health Spokesperson and Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire. 

"Nagkakaroon po ngayon ng negotiations kung papaano gagawin," she told ABS-CBN's Teleradyo. 

"Pero kung sakali pong matutuloy ang pagpapauwi, tayo po ay nagbigay na ng abiso na kailangan completely sealed ang casket. Pagdating dito immediate burial po agad dapat iyan, hindi na puwedeng buksan ang casket nila," she said. 

(Negotiations on what to do are ongoing. If they are repatriated, we issued an advisory that the casket should be completely sealed. When it gets here, it should undergo immediate burial, the casket cannot be opened.)

Filipinos who succumbed to COVID-19 and were buried in Saudi cannot be exhumed, she said. 

TeleRadyo, June 29, 2020