The Okyenhene Osagyefuo Amoatia Ofori Panin II has ordered the removal of corpses piled up at the various mortuaries in health facilities within the Akyem Abuakwa state for burial.
All bodies that are not retrieved for private burial within the next one month will be given mass burial, a statement issued by the paramount chief warned.
Aside what he described as “unusual congestion”, the Okyenhene said “…the state of the corpses are deteriorating,” indicating the situation poses health threat to the hospitals.
It said the situation has become a concern for which reason the Okyenhene has ordered all chiefs within his jurisdiction to ensure that all families retrieve the bodies of their relatives for interment within a month with effect from April 20.
“Families must appreciate that compliance with this order is in their own interest…This will also avoid the unhealthy situation where corpses that are not retrieved before the stated period are buried in mass graves,” the statement warned.
In line with customary and respect for the dead, it said families will be allowed to convey the mortal remains of their departed to their homes for brief observation and necessary customary rites.
However, they must ensure that all the protocols regarding social gathering and social distancing as issued by President Nana Akufo-Addo on the back of the coronavirus outbreak, must strictly be adhered to.
“It should be noted however that the ban on all public funeral ceremonies issued earlier remain in force. This order is only in respect of burial proprieties and private customary observances,” the statement added.
It called for the cooperation of all hospitals, health authorities, MMDCEs and the security services.
“The Osagyefuo greatly appreciates the cooperation shown by the chiefs and people of Akyem Abuakwa to the public measures to address the COVID-I9 pandemic” it said.
The ban on social gathering has caused congestions at various morgues across the country as families have resolved to keep bodies of their relatives preserved until such a time the ban will be lifted.
The Police Hospital announced it will be forced to conduct mass burial for bodies that have been left unclaimed for months to free up spaces in its facility.
In his seventh address on coronavirus to the nation, President Nana Akufo-Addo expressed concern over the decision by families to leave their dead in the morgue which has caused congestion.
“The morgues in the country are becoming full, and will, in themselves, soon pose a public health hazard. So, let us act quickly on this,” he said on Sunday.
He added: “As difficult as it may be, I encourage all bereaved persons to conduct private burials of their loved ones, but ensure that the twenty-five (25) person limit is not breached”.
By Stephen Kwabena Effah|3news.com|Ghana