Covid-19: Cape Town prepared for mass burials if necessary, but only as 'Plan B'
The Western Cape accounts for close to 62% of South Africa's Covid-19 cases as of 13 June, with a total of 40,605.
The provincial death toll has passed 1,000 and the peak of both infection and death rates is still to come.
Africa Melane finds out how the City of Cape Town will accommodate the increased pressure on cemeteries, from the Mayoral Committee member for Community Services and Health, Zahid Badroodien.
He notes that the City will simultaneously also have to cope with those deaths not related to Covid-19.
For some time now the City's been in the planning process where we've been needing to make sure that we would be able to cope with the demands that we are likely to see over the next few weeks.Zahid Badroodien, Mayco member for Community Services and Health - City of Cape Town
We look at our current infrastructure in terms of cemetery spaces but also our other infrastructure in terms of alternative burial options.Zahid Badroodien, Mayco member for Community Services and Health - City of Cape Town
He says a number of areas have been identified across Cape Town where additional cemetery space could be freed up and where they could start pre-digging gravesites.
The City is also ready - if it becomes necessary - for mass burials as per the regulations he says.
It's not a situation we'd like to find ourselves in, so we're working very closely with a number of stakeholders in terms of fatalities management value chain - all the way from burial societies, undertakers, our councillors who've also now been briefed in this space, but also to educate our residents to let them know what options are available to them.Zahid Badroodien, Mayco member for Community Services ane Town
Also to inform them that if we are wanting to avoid the estimated peak in terms of expected burials, we must still recognise the important value of the golden rules: staying inside, social distancing, washing hands and wearing masks so that we can try and minimise the amount of admissions into the hospital spaces and the amount of deaths that have been projected over the next few weeks.Zahid Badroodien, Mayco member for Community Services and Health - City of Cape Town
He says the projected deaths according to the epidemiological model adopted by government and relevant institutions range between 7,000 at the low end and 10,000.
Normally the City's average stands at around 1,200 burials and 360 cremations per month.
However, the possibility of mass burials is "absolutely a plan B", maintains Badroodien.
At our peak we're projecting about 5,280 estimated deaths. So at the moment... we are able to cope with the current demands and we estimate that we'd be able to cope with the expected demands as well.Zahid Badroodien, Mayco member for Community Services and Health - City of Cape Town
But as you know the modelling and the numbers can change with the changing nature of the virus and the changing numbers of people that are infected and will become deceased.Zahid Badroodien, Mayco member for Community Services and Health - City of Cape Town
Badroodien says there has been a call for residents to consider cremation, while taking into consideration religious and cultural sensitivities.
Where it is possible we are asking them to do so. It can be either at our Maitland facility or at any number of private facilities.Zahid Badroodien, Mayco member for Community Services and Health - City of Cape Town
Listen to this important conversation below:
This article first appeared on CapeTalk : Covid-19: Cape Town prepared for mass burials if necessary, but only as 'Plan B'
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