Coronavirus: UK councils start to ban funeral ceremonies

Rory Sullivan
Undertakers wearing personal protective equipment carry the coffin during the funeral in the Eternal Gardens Muslim Burial Ground, Chislehurst of Ismail Mohamed Abdulwahab, 13, from Brixton, south London: PA

Some UK councils have decided to stop offering funeral services as a safety precaution during the coronavirus pandemic.

Councils in Bradford and Kirklees, both in Yorkshire, are among the local authorities to take such action in the wake of the government lockdown.

From Monday, these two councils will be carrying out “direct cremations” without mourners and without a service.

Burials will still take place, but they will be limited to 10 mourners who must observe social distancing.

In a statement, Cllr Rob Walker, a cabinet member at Kirklees Council, said: “We are making these decisions with a heavy heart, nobody wants to have to take something from people who are grieving."

PHE said that funerals should only be attended by members of the deceased’s household or immediate family.

Professor Paul Cosford, emeritus medical director at PHE, said: “We are encouraging all mourners to practise social distancing at funerals for the time being. This sadly means limiting the number of mourners to immediate households and closest family members.”

On Friday, it was reported that the family of Ismail Mohamed Abdulwahab, 13, who died from Covid-19 earlier this week, was unable to attend his funeral because two of his siblings were showing symptoms of the virus.

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