Why Lagos state is giving residents two weeks ultimatum to carry out funerals or risk mass burial

Governor Sanwo-Olu, during a press briefing on the update of COVID-19 management in the state at the State House Marina, announced that funeral has been exempted from the restriction placed on public gatherings and so, families should endeavour to remove bodies of their dead loved ones in the mortuary for burial within two weeks, as the state has planned to resort to mass burials after the said period, so as to free up the filled mortuaries.

"If we're unable to see a decongestion of mortuaries across the state within the next two weeks, Lagos state government will now be compelled to seek to have a mass burial and we would not want to force this on anybody, which is why we are asking for the cooperation of all of us," he said.

Sanwo-Olu added that families do not have to wait for their relatives living in faraway places to come around before they can bury their dead loved ones.

With the restrictions placed on public gatherings during the COVID-19 lockdown and the Catholic custom of not conducting funerals during the Lenten period, many funerals that were scheduled within the last few months in Lagos had been postponed.

"You can hold or attend funeral ceremonies in Lagos State as long as you comply with the requirements that we have outlined," Sanwo-Olu confirmed.

"The total number of persons at the funeral, including officiating religious leaders, must not exceed 20. Physical distancing must be maintained at the funeral ceremony; all attendees/mourners must use masks and ensure they wash their hands after the ceremony."

Sanwo-Olu maintained that there must be no receptions or parties to accompany the funerals while clarifying that the congestion in mortuaries is not related to the incidence of COVID-19 deaths.

Although Lagos is the most affected state in Nigeria with 1,107 cases of COVID-19 as of May 4, deaths relating to the pandemic in the state is only 30.

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