Spain and France lay coronavirus victims to rest as UK prepares for worst
Tragic pictures show coronavirus victims being laid to rest in France and Spain, as parts of the UK prepare for a worst-case scenario.
Municipal workers wearing protective gear carried a coffin at an El Salvador cemetery in Vitoria on Friday, as the Spanish death toll rose to 4,858 when 769 people died overnight.
In other pictures, members of the Charitable Brotherhood of Saint-Eloi de Bethune carry an urn towards a family tomb, as the number of people who have passed away in France jumps to 1,695.
It comes as talks are held about setting up a temporary mortuary with space for up to 12,000 bodies at Birmingham Airport in England, amid growing concern over the speed of the coronavirus spread in the West Midlands.
Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council has been searching on behalf of all West Midlands and Warwickshire local authorities to find possible sites that could be used if needed.
Two further coronavirus field hospitals are also being built at the National Exhibition Centre (NEC) and Manchester’s Central Convention Centre, following the announcement that London’s ExCel Centre would be transformed into the NHS Nightingale Hospital.
NHS chief executive Sir Simon Stevens told the daily Downing Street press briefing on Friday that the venues were being created to cope with the expected spike in cases ‘with further such hospitals to follow’.
The Midlands venue could hold up to 5,000 beds if required, while the GMEX could hold as many as 1,000.
Lockdown rules have robbed many people of a chance to say goodbye to their loved ones in different countries across the world.
A new confinement directive brought in by President Emmanuel Macron limits funerals to 20 people in France, with only close family members allowed in cemeteries or crematoriums
Spain has extended its state of emergency, with citizens only allowed out of their homes to go to work, the doctor, the supermarket or pharmacy, to help vulnerable people or to walk their dogs.
The UK government followed suit on Wednesday, saying only immediate family could attend funeral services to curb the spread of Covid-19.
Carlisle City Council has limited the numbers of those who can attend burial and crematorium services to a maximum of 12 people, while only six family members will be able to go to services in Birmingham.
On Wednesday, the head of a family funeral directors firm claimed that undertakers were running out of space to store bodies in Glasgow amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Funeral services cannot take place until deaths have been registered, but many face-to-face appointments at registry offices are unavailable following the government’s lockdown.