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By Siti Fauziah Hasan
SEREMBAN, June 21 -- The COVID-19 (Tajhiz) funeral management team of the Negeri Sembilan Islamic Religious Affairs Department (JHEAINS), is not weary of handling Covid-19 funerals, despite burying 221 remains this year as of yesterday, compared to only 12 cases last year.
According to JHEAINS director Datuk Mohd Zaidi Ramli, they are managing at least five COVID-19 burials every day with the highest so far being 12 cases a few days ago.
"We have been carrying out no less than five burials every day. Thus, the term ‘tired’ does not exist, even at midnight when the team are drenched in perspiration due to the PPE (personal protective equipment), to ensure that the body is laid to rest," he told Bernama.
"If there are remains to be buried, they will wear the same PPE because we have to use it sparingly. Sometimes at 3 am somebody dies, and then at 4 am another person dies, that's why my officers in the forensic department use the same PPE for two to three hours,” he added.
He said the 12-member team is on standby for 24 hours, with four people stationed in the hospital's forensic division to conduct tayammum (dry bathing), shrouding and funeral prayers, while another eight to handle burials.
He said, the PPE which keeps the body temperature high is one of the main challenges for the staff, especially if the remains are handled during the day in hot weather because they are at risk of heat stroke.
At night, it requires a lot of lighting and the situation becomes more difficult if it rains heavily, he said, adding that all 12 officers underwent training to handle the funeral of COVID-19 remains.
Since family members could not attend the funeral, JHEAINS said it took the initiative to make a live broadcast through the department's official Facebook page so that the next of kin could ‘send off’ their family members.
He added most of the COVID-19-risk remains in Seremban were laid to rest in a designated area at the Tuan Haji Said Muslim Cemetery with a capacity of 99 bodies.
However, he said the area had reached full capacity.
"Therefore, another cemetery in Ainsdale was used on June 17 to bury the bodies of the victims and as of yesterday, six bodies have been buried there," he said.
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