Backhoe used to dig graves for COVID fatalities in Zamboanga
A backhoe operator prepares to dig the graves for COVID-19 fatalities in Zamboanga City in this photo posted on Friday by the city health office.
Roel Pareño

Backhoe used to dig graves for COVID fatalities in Zamboanga

Roel Pareño (The Philippine Star) - April 14, 2020 - 12:00am

ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines — The city government of Zamboanga has started burying in graves dug up with the use of a backhoe bodies of people who died of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

This developed as the number of COVID-related deaths in Zamboanga peninsula climbed to 21.

On social media, the city health office on Friday posted a photo of the gravesite in a public cemetery Barangay Talabaan.

Before the COVID outbreak, this cemetery served as a resting place for unclaimed cadavers who were given pauper’s burial by the city government.

A part of the caption accompanying the photo read: “Dying from COVID-19 takes away burial rites, no embalming, no viewing, no wake, no time for grief.”

The local inter-agency task force (IATF) on COVID-19, chaired by Mayor Maria Isabelle Climaco-Salazar, confirmed that some COVID fatalities were buried at the site.

The IATF declined to divulge the number of bodies buried at the site to avoid alarming the nearby neighborhood.

The task force clarified that only those COVID fatalities whose families have no means to bury them were laid at the site.

A marker was placed on each grave for proper identification.

The city health office advised residents to stay home to remain safe from the virus until a vaccine is discovered.

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