In Kobe, Japan, the local government has ordered transparent body bags for families who want a viewing of those who died of COVID-19.
The transparent bags, opposed to the opaque white bags that most hospitals use, might give some families better closure and help in the grieving process.
Local government is normally not involved with ordering body bags for hospitals. However, it’s reported that Kobe officials want to make sure that, if a heavy coronavirus outbreak occurs in its region, there will not be any loss of reputation due to a lack of preparation.
Compared to certain areas in Europe and the United States, Japan is minimally impacted by the virus with 119 virus-related deaths as of Wednesday. Much of this is contributed to the country’s strict outbreak management by declaring a state of emergency quickly and social distancing and heavy hygiene standards.
Cremation in Japan during the pandemic
In normal circumstances Japanese law mandates that a body cannot be cremated or embalmed within a 24-hour period after death. There are some exceptions to this law and that’s when the person died of an infectious disease like COVID-19.
In Japan, cremation rates reach over 99% and is the most popular burial method. Over 28% of the population is over 65 years-old and a lack of preparation could have immense consequences for a large part of the Japanese population.