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China Orders Immediate Cremation of Those Killed by Coronavirus

The Forum - Directors Digest
February  2020

China is ordering the immediate cremation of victims of the coronavirus, a budding pandemic that has now reached beyond the borders of the world’s most populated country. Funerals for victims are also forbidden.

The fast-spreading illness has killed more than 490 people, with a total of more than 24,000 confirmed cases within China as of February 4, 2020, according to the National Health Commission in China. The increase in exposure and fatalities has led the Chinese government to establish strict protocols for the handling and disposition of infected human remains.

The remains of victims of the virus are to be cremated as quickly as possible at a nearby facility with “no burial or other means of preservation” used, the NHC stated in a release. “[N]o farewell ceremony of corpses and other forms of funeral activities should be held,” the release states.

No family members will be allowed to visit the remains, the government ordered. In addition, foreign visitors to China who become infected with the coronavirus and die while in China are to be “cremated on the spot,” according to the NHC. The cremated remains can then be claimed by the family.

The virus, which originated in Wuhan, China, has begun to spread throughout China and more than 20 other countries, including the United States. The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that as of February 3, 2020 there are 11 confirmed cases of the coronavirus in five states (Arizona, California, Illinois, Massachusetts and Washington). A total of 36 states have “people under investigation” for infection.

The United States, in response to the coronavirus outbreak, has issued a “Level 4: Do Not Travel” advisory, warning against travel to China. Most commercial airlines have already suspended or reduced flights to and from China.

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