We must be ready to manage the dead from coronavirus

Romain Fathi

Research output: Other contribution

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Funerals should be postponed and governments must implement body-handling procedures in wake of COVID-19 crisis.

In our modern societies, we provide our loved ones with customised and highly ritualised funerals. They represent their individuality and beliefs, respect their final wishes, and give families a place and time to grieve.

The novel coronavirus, with its increasing death toll worldwide, may prove to be a significant disruption to the ways in which we deal with the dead. Cities and towns in northern Italy are already facing enormous difficulties due to a lack of equipment, infrastructure, personnel, and government guidance on this matter.

Higher death tolls, however, are not just an issue for relatives and funeral workers: they also pose a serious health challenge to the living. Large amounts of unattended bodies are an epidemiological bomb waiting to explode. While viruses need living hosts to thrive, they can still remain active in corpses for varying periods of time. Dealing with the bodies thus becomes a sanitary imperative.
Original languageEnglish
TypeOpinion Piece
Media of outputOnline
PublisherIndependent Australia
Number of pages9
Place of PublicationIsle of Capri, Qld
Publication statusPublished - 25 Mar 2020

Bibliographical note

This work is licensed under a CC BY-NC-ND Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Australia License. © Copyright 2020 Independent Australia - All rights reserved.


  • Human remains
  • COVID-19
  • Coronavirus
  • History
  • WWI
  • Spanish flu
  • Death
  • Burial
  • Funerals
  • Human life


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  • A different kind of Anzac Day

    Fathi, R., 24 Apr 2020, 12 p. Isle of Capri, Qld : Independent Australia.

    Research output: Other contribution

    Open Access

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