There are concerns about the respiratory disease COVID-19 that it can spread to the local population from the dead. In this context, Iraqi religious leaders, tribesmen, and other locals are opposed to expelling the bodies of people from hospital headquarters. Now, these bodies are accumulating in cold boxes.
According to Islamic teachings, a person has to be buried as soon as possible after his death and usually, the burial is done within 24 hours of death.
So far, more than 500 cases of Coronavirus have been reported in Iraq, with 42 deaths. However, there are very few tests facilities in Iraq, so no one knows the exact number of people killed by the Coronavirus. People are afraid that actual number could be much higher.
Near the capital Baghdad, local tribal leaders this week halted the burial of four people killed by Coronavirus. The burial was going to a place that the government had allocated to nineteen people killed by the outbreak. The bodies were sent back to the headquarters after protests by locals.
An Iraqi resident told Iraqi media on anonymity that locals have decided not to allow anyone who died of the outbreak in his area to be buried.
According to the World Health Organization WHO, no such evidence has been reported so far that the virus is transmitted through the dead. The Iraqi government says the government is ensuring all possible security measures to bury such people, including burying bodies, disinfecting and placing them in special coffins.
Iraq’s top religious leader, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, had earlier said that the bodies of those killed by COVID-19 should be locked in three layers and the authorities should arrange for their burial. But despite Ayatollah’s announcement, there has been no reduction in the number of such people rejecting the burial. While in Karbala and Najaf, the areas with the largest cemeteries in the world, those killed by the outbreak are not being given space.