Funeral in the Covid-19 pandemic

(Ho Chi Minh City, Viet Nam – 2021)

During the 16 months after Covid-19 first appeared, Vietnam had only documented about 6,000 infected cases till April 27, 2021. However, with over 1.9 million cases in the last months of 2021, Vietnam entered the fourth wave of the pandemic caused by the Delta variant.
Ho Chi Minh City, the epicenter of the pandemic in Vietnam, imposed a harsh curfew in mid-June and vowed to track and trace the entire population of about 10 million people. The city’s “Zero Covid-19” policy was still in effect at the time.
The health system in Ho Chi Minh City was overwhelmed in early July. Due to overcrowding, severe cases could not be admitted to the hospital. In Ho Chi Minh City, the infection rate reached more than 150 cases per 100,000 individuals. Temporary hospitals were quickly overrun once they were erected. The city was engulfed in mourning as the number of deaths rose significantly every day, ranging between 200 and 300 cases per day.
Those who died at home at the time had to wait for the funeral team and the army to arrive and take their bodies to be cremated. When a loved one passes away in Vietnamese culture, the family arranges a funeral with all relatives present to bid farewell to the deceased in a wooden coffin. During the outbreak, however, families who have lost a loved one to Covid-19 must accept the fact that no funeral will be held. Their only alternative is to wait for the funeral crew to arrive in protective garments and wrap the deceased’s body before transporting it to the crematory. The ashes will then be conveyed to the house of a loved one who died as a result of Covid-19.

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