'No-one will die because you weren't part of a funeral': Limpopo health MEC urges 'virtual support'

Limpopo health MEC Phophi Ramathuba has declared funerals to be superspreaders.
Limpopo health MEC Phophi Ramathuba has declared funerals to be superspreaders.
Image: Antonio Muchave

Limpopo health MEC Dr Phophi Ramathuba has urged mourners to reconsider attending funerals amid the Covid-19 pandemic and instead offer “virtual support” to grieving families.

She said some families choose not to disclose that their loved ones died from illnesses related to Covid-19 and are close contacts of the deceased, which could contribute to a spike in infections.

“Families are not disclosing that their loved ones died of complications associated with  Covid-19. They are serving you tea while they know they are close contacts of the deceased.

“Send them condolences messages. Buy them flowers or even e-wallet them. They will appreciate this. Let’s all stay safe,” she tweeted on Sunday.

She also shared a poster stating catering and weekly visits to the grieving during the pandemic are “not necessary”.

“No-one will die because you were not part of a funeral.”

On Friday, the MEC declared funerals in the province to be superspreader events after Limpopo registered its highest daily rate of infections.

Covid-19 cases in the province jumped from around 20 new cases a day, at one point in December, to over 1,500 last week.

Ramathuba expressed concern that people attended funerals in large numbers despite the risk of contracting the coronavirus.

Under level 3 lockdown, only 50 people may attend funerals and must observe social distancing of 1.5m. Proceedings are not allowed to take more than two hours. Night vigils and “after tears” are prohibited.

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