Funerals in Ireland acting as super-spreaders of Covid-19 as NPHET faces pressure to take action
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Funerals in Ireland acting as super-spreaders of Covid-19 as NPHET faces pressure to take action

FUNERALS are acting as viral hotbeds across Ireland following an increase in Covid-19 clusters.

There have been calls for funeral arrangements to be kept secret after worrying Covid statistics among mourners were revealed recently.

Ireland's Chief Medical Officer, Dr Tony Holohan, has repeatedly expressed concerns about funerals and continued to urge people to take every precaution when attending them.

"We are also seeing [a] number of outbreaks across the country. These include outbreaks in association with funerals," the NPHET chief said.

"We understand that this is a difficult time for families but it is really important that we do everything we can to avoid the circumstances which promote transmission of the virus."

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Under current restrictions, no more than 25 people may attend funerals, but reports indicate that in actuality far more people turn up to pay their respects in one way or another.

A spokesperson for the Irish Association of Funeral Directors (IAFD) said that it was people "turning up for funerals" and then failing to adhere to public health guidelines who were causing an increase of Covid-19 cases among funeral-goers.

Speaking to RTE's Morning Ireland, IAFD director Mary Cunniffe said that she was not surprised to hear of outbreaks linked to funerals, and called for people to stop publicising details of the services.

"There has been some non-compliance. Around the country, especially in the rural areas, people are turning up for funerals and not adhering to the proper wearing of masks, hand hygiene and social distancing," she said.

"While notices are to be kept to a minimum, some media providers are not observing that rule and information about reposes and funeral arrangements are being published on various media platforms.

"We have no control over that on the ground. Families themselves put up notices or information on whatever media platform they decide to use.

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"We strongly recommend when we meet a family that it is OK to put the identification part [of a death notice up]. The arrangements should be kept to a minimum.

"We are requesting that funeral directors not to publish the arrangements and for families not to ask the funeral director to publish the arrangements.

"If you see the arrangements published, don’t feel under pressure to attend."