The City of Cape Town (CoCT) says it has made available five mass burial sites to address concerns over a lack of space, with 9,000 Covid-19 deaths projected in the Western Cape.
As of Sunday June 21, the Western Cape recorded an additional 26 deaths, bringing the total number of Covid-19 related deaths in the province to 1,399.
The City’s cemeteries cater to at least 1,200 burials every month while the crematoriums handle 360 cremations during this time.
As the province prepares for the peak of the pandemic those numbers are expected to increase rapidly.
The provincial government approved guidelines to manage Covid-19 related deaths in the region to preside over how funeral homes as well as municipalities handle mass fatalities.
The guidelines are as follows:
- Human remains will only be kept at mortuaries for two days before burials;
- The government may intervene in the case where bodies are not claimed;
- The government may also take over burials if deaths exceed 10 or 20 per day, per town;
- In the event of mass graves, municipalities are to ensure that necessary controls are in place to ensure that the remains can be identified.
The City said mass burials will only be conducted as a very last resort, with the dignity of the deceased being preserved as much as possible.