The increased death count and regulations due to Covid-19 is creating pressure on the Italian death care industry. No services and immediate disposal is difficult for families and directors.
Every 30 minutes a funeral is taking place in Bergamo, a city just outside Milan, in the Italian epicenter of the virus . Churches are being used as temporarily mortuaries and funerals are generally banned. With the large backlog of deceased waiting to be buried the mayor’s office is encouraging families to consider cremation, but despite the local crematorium operating round-the-clock they are still themselves overwhelmed.
Claudia Scott, an Italian funeral home co-owner said “Morgues and health institutions are collapsing,” “We were absolutely unprepared for an emergency of this kind.”
With over 27980 infected and 2158 deceased, Italy is so far the country with the highest death rate of over 7%. Due to the extreme influx of infected patients in hospitals in the Lombardy region, doctors are forced to make decisions on life and death as they cannot help every seriously infected person due to under capacity.
Italian doctors are warning other countries for what’s coming and therefore many European countries have now closed borders and put tight restrictions on being outside and engaging in social interaction.
European Government Intervention
Mark Rutten, the Prime Minister of the Netherlands, mentioned in an address to the nation that specialists expect that 50% – 60% of the Dutch population will be infected by the virus at some point, and a controlled spreading of the virus would be the most responsible.
President Macron from France, announced a government lockdown in his address to the nation. Similar to Italy, citizens will need an official form to leave their homes. And a hundred-thousand police officers will enforce a curfew.
In the Netherlands and Germany funerals are still allowed as long as there are less than 100 people within the same room, including staff. In Spain, Italy and France funerals are already banned. In the UK and Ireland funerals are still allowed but there are more signs heading for a complete ban within days or weeks.
By restricting certain everyday freedoms and increasing intensive care units governments are working to decrease the death rate. However, people will still be lost and European death care professionals will be under pressure as the spread continues.
Covid-19 guidance for European funeral Directors
Several funeral associations around the world have released guidelines for funeral directors concerning the coronavirus, and funeral directors need to prepare now for worst case scenarios such as mass influx of demand for disposal and funerals being banned.