Drama on a Caribbean island: the owners of the only funeral home were infected with coronavirus and there is no one to bury the dead

Aerial view of the island of San Andrés

A health emergency has been experienced since last week on the island of San Andrés, in the Colombian Caribbean, where the cases of Covid-19 have begun to increase again, causing an alert in the authorities.

The island only has one funeral home, which no longer has enough to receive the corpses of people killed by the pandemic virus that even infected the owners of the establishment, a situation that caused at least seven bodies of those killed by Covid-19 to accumulate without being able to be buried.

The owner of the funeral home is in serious health and this Tuesday, according to statements delivered by the governor of San Andrés, Everth Hawkins, to Time, she had to be transferred in an emergency helicopter outside the island to be treated. Her son is also infected so the funeral home is operating only with one operator.

“In the only funeral home in San Andrés, the owner was infected with Covid-19 and is in a delicate state of health, she had to be taken to the continent by ambulance plane due to gravity,” said the governor.

The only funeral home in San Andrés can no longer supply due to the increase in coronavirus cases on the island.  Photo: Facebook Government of San Andrés

The only funeral home in San Andrés can no longer supply due to the increase in coronavirus cases on the island. Photo: Facebook Government of San Andrés

To mitigate this situation, the island’s Public Services Secretariat is required operators from other cities to be in charge of handling the bodies.

“We are short of people who know the protocols for the packaging of people killed by covid-19 and bury them. We are finishing a new incinerator furnace to comply with the protocols “Hawkins said.

In addition, 700 new vaults are being built in the cemetery and cold containers purchased. The main concern in the words of the governor is not to let “people rot us, that spreads more virus ”.

On the island there has been an increase in cases in recent days, going from having 115 cases until August 31 and By September 15, there were 293 islanders infected with coronavirus.

The situation has led the island’s authorities to Decree a curfew from 5 in the afternoon to 5 in the morning every day starting this Thursday.

The Government is building 700 new vaults to prevent bodies from accumulating.  Photo: Facebook Government of San Andrés

The Government is building 700 new vaults to prevent bodies from accumulating. Photo: Facebook Government of San Andrés

Particularly worrying because the island had begun a process of tourist reactivation within the framework of the “selective isolation” promoted by the Government of Iván Duque as the new approach in the management of the pandemic. Tourism is the main source of income for the San Andrés archipelago and a recurrence of the disease on its islands could once again put the local economy in check.

17 new Intensive Care Units are being installed on the island, which still lack the installation of oxygen and other medical equipment. Governor Hawkins assured that this is a priority and that they would come into operation this Friday since, given the increase in cases, they are urgently needed.

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