Parisada Hindu Dharma Indonesia (PHDI), the country’s leading authority on Hinduism, is appealing to relatives of deceased COVID-19 patients in Bali to forgo traditional funeral rites for their loved ones, as morgues on the island are struggling with overcapacity.
PHDI Chairman I Gusti Ngurah Sudiana made the appeal yesterday to follow up on the group’s circular published on Aug. 13.
“Lately in Bali there have been a spike in COVID-19 infections, as well as many dying in hospitals,” Sudiana said.
Sudiana added that morgues on the island are full and unable to receive more bodies amid a low turnover rate. Many bodies remain at morgues for prolonged periods for traditional Hindu funeral prep.
PHDI has urged the Bali provincial government to limit the transit period of deceased COVID-19 patients at morgues to just two days to prevent further pile-up. It’s also asking families to allow funerals or cremations of their loved ones to be immediately handled by health workers with COVID-19 protocols in place.
“Of course, this would be carried out with prior notification to the family and with the family in attendance,” PHDI wrote in the circular.
Furthermore, PHDI said in cases where the deceased did not die of COVID-19, their families should refrain from holding traditional ceremonies for the time being as they may attract large gatherings.
Wangaya General Hospital in Denpasar last week reported that its 31-capacity morgue held 71 dead bodies at one point, forcing them to turn away around half a dozen more each day.
Though the government says Indonesia has passed its COVID-19 peak, Bali continues to steadily record high numbers daily. On Aug. 15, the province recorded 1,071 new cases and 43 fatalities, bringing the total to 96,027 cases and 2,709 deaths.
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