The government has now mandated that those who pass away will now have to be buried in the town/city in which they die. They say they are doing this in order to stop the spread of COVID-19. Funerals are already limited to 30 people under the latest lockdown rules. The new regulation also says that bodies will not be handled by relatives nor will they be taken home for a wake. Rather they will be taken from funeral parlours/city council officials straight for burial. Burials will also be conducted by the relevant municipal authorities. It’s not clear whether this new regulation applies to all bodies or just those bodies that test positive for COVID.

Saves money for funeral homes

This is probably good news for companies like Nyaradzo that are in the funeral policy business. The whole thing works because there is a pool of funds from which they can draw. These policies are made with the belief that not all those who are insured will die at once or not too many of them will die at once. Pandemics tend to come with a shocking body count. This would severely strain the ability of these companies to provide services as insured and their dependants die en masse.

The companies will now have a quicker turn-around. There is no longer any need to send buses and hearses to nether regions of the country where they will be tied up for days. A hearse can even be only tied up for a few hours as the burial is conducted. All they will now be used for will be to ferry bodies from the mortuary or funeral parlour to the hospital.

Also, funerals and their cultural aspects can cause problems during pandemics and epidemics when infectious diseases are involved. A number of people died from Cholera a few years ago because they insisted on washing the bodies themselves. Scores of people died in Central Africa after contracting Ebola virus at funerals. Letting experts handle the process by sealing off bodies reduces risk to people.

That will however come with cultural backlash as people might feel the government is overreaching especially if the body has tested negative. People place such an importance on wakes and being buried next to people from their clan they will probably be push-back although the government will probably win this one for now.


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