HARARE, Jan. 11 (Xinhua) -- The Zimbabwean government has directed that bodies of people who die from COVID-19 should be buried in areas where the deaths would have occurred, as the country moves to curb the further spread of the pandemic.
There is no clarity, however, on whether all bodies will now be treated as COVID-19 cases, with police spokesman Paul Nyathi, who issued a statement announcing the ban on movement of bodies on Sunday night, referring questions to the health ministry.
According to Nyathi, bodies will now be buried in towns or areas in which the deaths would have occurred and that there will be no body-viewing.
Zimbabwe, which has recently witnessed a surge in COVID-19 infections, has so far recorded 21,477 cases and 507 deaths since the first reported case on March 20, 2020.
On Monday morning, it was reported that over the previous 24 hours, the country reported 978 new cases, the majority of which were in Harare, and 24 deaths.
Nyathi, the police spokesman, said the new measures were ordered by the Ministry of Health and Child Care.
"The Zimbabwe Republic Police advises the public that the Ministry of Health and Child Care has informed the police of immediate restrictions imposed on the movement of dead bodies for burial in the country.
"According to health officials, a body will now be buried in the town/city where the death would have taken place," he said. "This is being done in order to curtail the spread of COVID-19 pandemic."
"In this regard, police will only clear body movements for burial straight from a funeral parlor/hospital mortuary to the burial site.
"No body-viewing will be allowed and bodies will not be taken home," Nyathi said.
He urged the public to keep a distance as the bodies are lowered into the graves by either city health or funeral parlor officials, saying the grave sites would be disinfected before burial. Enditem