Aklan LGUs told to prepare burial grounds for COVID deaths after crematorium halts services

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Kalibo, Aklan (CNN Philippines, August 3) — Municipal mayors in Aklan have been told to prepare burial grounds for confirmed COVID-19 deaths after the provincial government's partner crematorium facility in Jaro, Iloilo City said it would temporarily stop its services due to the huge volume of bodies received daily.

An order signed on Aug. 2 by Aklan Governor Florencio Miraflores directed all mayors in Aklan to have burial grounds in their areas ready, reminding them to follow health protocols in light of COVID-19.

In a radio interview on Tuesday, Fely Gegato, owner of the Gegato Abecia Funeral Homes & Crematory, said the machine they use for cremation overheated from cremating 20 to 30 bodies daily, and they would scale down to cremating 10 bodies a day.

"We will cremate the remaining dead bodies, but starting August 2, we will temporarily stop our operation," she added.

Gegato did not say when the crematorium would operate again, but added they ordered another cremation machine that could accommodate 100 bodies a day.

Due to the announcement, the bodies of two COVID-19 fatalities in Kalibo were buried in two separate cemeteries on Monday.

In a phone interview on Tuesday, Aklan Provincial Health Office Chairperson Dr. Bong Cornelio Cuachon said the government must hire experts to conduct a specific study on how to properly bury the dead bodies to avoid contamination.

"Aklan province tallies an average five deaths due to COVID-19 a day," Cuachon added.

Aklan has a total of 8,383 COVID-19 cases, of whom 6,544 have already recovered. It has 1,656 active cases, and 184 deaths.

Due to the rise in cases, Aklan has been placed under Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine from Aug. 1-15.