HCM City to cover funeral expenses for deceased COVID-19 patients

Ho Chi Minh City authorities said the city would cover expenses for funeral services for deceased COVID-19 patients in “the safest and most solemn manner”.

Nguyen Toan Thang, Director of the city Department of Environment and Natural Resources, said each family would receive VND17 million (US$740) to cover transportation, cremation and delivery of the ashes to them.

For COVID patients who die at hospital, the city Department of Health will transfer funds to the hospitals to pay for funeral services.

For COVID-19 patients who die at home, their families will need to present a death certificate to their ward or commune or township authorities to receive financial support.

The city has also set a standard price for funeral service fees for those who do not die of COVID-19. 

According to Thang, people should contact the HCM City Urban Environment Company for recommendations to find a reasonably priced service provider.

The price is VND4.2 million at burial facilities managed by the HCM City Urban Environment Company compared to VND4.5-VND5 million at other companies, he said.

Cremation of people who died of COVID-19 must be done according to a six-step process prescribed by the Ministry of Health to ensure safety.

When a COVID-19 patient dies, whether at home or at hospital, the body must be disinfected and transported directly to the cremation place by specialised vehicles for cremation within 24 hours from the time of death.

For a death occurring at a medical examination and treatment facility, the burial process must follow a special process for dangerous diseases, and the burial must be done as soon as possible at the hospital funeral house, with a limited number of people participating in the funeral process.

The city has assigned the HCM City High Command to receive and return the ashes of deceased COVID-19 patients to their families.

If family members cannot directly receive the ashes of the deceased, the city’s Religious Affairs Committee will transfer the ashes to be kept at temples or pagodas until the relatives come to receive them. 

Cremation is being carried out at Binh Hung Hoa Cemetery in Binh Tan district, the city’s major and largest centre, as well as Da Phuoc Cemetery in Binh Chanh district, Phuc An Vien Cemetery in Thu Duc city, and Thap Long Tho Cemetery in Cu Chi district.

According to Thang, the city has asked cemeteries not to raise the price of the service or refuse any case. 

HCM City, the country’s pandemic epicentre, has recorded more than 124,000 infections since late April. The city recorded over 2,500 fatalities as of August 9, out of the country’s 3,215 deaths.

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