Burials Triple, and Manaus Cemetery Opens Mass Graves for Coronavirus Victims

Number of daily burials went from 30 to over 100; Amazon's health system collapsed

Rio de Janeiro

Facing the collapse of the Amazonas health system and an explosion in the number of burials, the largest cemetery in Manaus had to open mass graves to bury victims of the novel coronavirus.

Before the pandemic, officials at the Nossa Senhora Aparecida cemetery buried about 30 bodies daily. In the past few days, there have been over a hundred burials daily.

In the mass graves, called trenches by the city hall, several coffins are buried next to each other. The agency affirms that this methodology preserves the bodies' identity, while allowing distance between the coffins and the identification of the graves.

Number of daily burials went from 30 to over 100, in Manaus (Foto: Sandro Pereira /Fotoarena/Folhapress) - www.fotoarena.com.br

In addition to opening mass graves, the Manaus City Hall installed two cold rooms in the cemetery to protect the bodies before the burial.

The goal is to free up SOS Funeral cars, so they can leave the coffins in the cemetery and answer new calls. The service is free for those who cannot afford the costs of removing the body and burying.

Due to the increased demand for burials, the city is restricting access to the cemetery to those burying family members.

A maximum of five people is allowed at funerals. "The measure aims to preserve the privacy of bereaved families and also considers the risk of spreading the novel coronavirus," said the agency.

According to the latest bulletin released by the state, this Monday (20th), Amazonas has 2,160 confirmed cases of the new coronavirus and 185 deaths. Manaus is the most affected municipality, with 1,772 cases and 156 deaths.

The state's public system collapsed in the last week, with 100% of the beds for Covid-19 occupied in the public network. Hospitals are overcrowded in Manaus, the only city with an ICU.

Translated by Kiratiana Freelon

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