UP medical anthropologist urges DOH to relax restrictions on kin of COVID-19 dead
MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Health (DOH) should relax restrictions on relatives of patients who died of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), a medical anthropologist and professor at the University of the Philippines (UP) said Friday.
Dr. Michael Tan, also former chancellor at UP Diliman, noted that the World Health Organization (WHO) has advised that corpses of people who died of the coronavirus disease are no longer infectious as they can no longer spread droplets by coughing or sneezing.
“This is where I also ask the DOH to loosen up their restrictions, kasi sa ngayon within 12 hours kailangan ilibing or i-cremate (because right now, protocols require that the bodies should be cremated within 12 hours),” he said in a media forum hosted by the DOH.
Tan said although relatives of the deceased COVID-19 patient should be permitted to see the remains, touching or embracing should not be permitted.
In making this suggestion, Tan pointed out that even in hospitals, COVID-19 patients are just barred from having direct contact with their friends and families.
“Tapos [kapag] namatay, ang mga kamag-anak pinagbawal pa rin pumasok sa kwarto, and then once na pinasok sa body bag at na-zip na ‘yan (body of patient), hindi na pwedeng buksan. They will never see their loved ones again and then diretso na sa crematorium,” he said.
(When patients die, their relatives are not allowed to enter the hospital room, and then once their bodies are placed in a body bag and it has been zipped, the body bag can no longer be opened again. Their loved ones will never see them again and their bodies will just be brought to the crematorium.)
A total of 790 deaths were recorded from the 11,876 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the country as of Thursday morning. A total of 2,337 patients have recovered.
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