Malta’s public health authorities don’t advise the wearing of Hazmat suits when handling coffins of COVID-19 victims, Charmaine Gauci has confirmed.
Gauci’s predecessor as Superintendent of Public Health Ray Busuttil recently published a photo of a funeral of a COVID-19 victim, in which the coffin can be seen wrapped in plastic and covered in a sheet and the people handling it dressed in Hazmat suits.
“What an unnecessary charade! It is disrespectful, stigmatising and degrading for the deceased person, not to mention the pain and heart break it causes for an already devastated family,” Busuttil wrote. “The only positive outcome from it all is an additional payment to the undertaker!”
However, Gauci confirmed at her weekly press briefing that the public health authorities are following WHO funeral guidelines for COVID-19 victims, which state that their bodies must be placed in bodybags and then inside coffins.
“There’s no need to wear PPE, except masks. This initiative [flagged by Busuttil] didn’t proceed according to our guidelines and we didn’t issue any instructions to wear PPE.”