Durban Hindu crematorium extends hours amid body pile-up largely due to Covid-19

A Durban crematorium has been forced to extend their business hours because of an unprecedented increase in cremations resulting from the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Clare Estate Umgeni Hindu Crematorium usually conducted an average of eight cremations a day pre-Covid-19, but that number has rocketed to 27 cremations per day – over half of which are Covid-19 related deaths.

Crematorium secretary Thegraj Kassie told IOL the crematorium was forced into changes to cope with the high volume of bodies coming in.

The situation is quite bad. We have seen a big increase in cremations, particularly Covid-19 related deaths. As a result, we have had to extend our operating hours to 10 pm at night to cope with the demand.”

Kassie added that they have designated two halls on the property that solely deal with Covid-19 related deaths and have instituted time limits on funerals.

“We allocate 40 minutes for a normal funeral and 30 minutes for a Covid-19 related funeral.”

20d0ae02 screenshot 2020 12 28 at 19.37.01 - Durban Hindu crematorium extends hours amid body pile-up largely due to Covid-19
Source: Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) at Johns Hopkins University

Grim milestone of 1 million Covid-19 cases

The spike in deaths coincides with South Africa reaching the grim milestone of 1 million Covid-19 infections Sunday.

The National Coronavirus Command Council (NCCC) met this past weekend amid the rapidly rising numbers of infections.

“Once the NCCC concludes its meetings it consults with provinces before a report is sent to the president who in turn will engage the country on pertinent matters,” said GCIS Director-General Phumla Williams.

President Cyril Ramaphosa is scheduled address the nation at 20:00 Monday 28 December on developments in relation to the country’s response to the Coronavirus pandemic.

IOL reports that sources close to the NCCC have indicated there have been calls for more stringent containment measures as the healthcare system is believed to be close to collapse in some provinces.

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