Experts warn: People may have to watch their loved ones’ funerals via live stream should the coronavirus become a pandemic.
To be sure, there’s no set timeline for when—or if—this will happen. The National Association of Funeral Directors told Sky News it’s working with authorities to “seek early guidance” on how to proceed should the spread of COVID-19—the disease caused by the coronavirus—continue.
“The exact steps we would take would be determined by the severity of the outbreak and whether funerals would need to be adapted in the event of a ban on public gatherings and other changes,” NAFD says. “This is all part of our normal planning process.”
NAFD says that in addition to helping authorities cope with “additional deaths,” funeral directors are looking into the best ways to help families find “meaningful ways to say goodbye” should a loved one’s funeral be done through the web.
“Option might include the webcasting of funeral services, as many crematoria now have these facilities,” NAFD says. The group suggested that separate memorial services could be held at a later date, according to the Independent.
Confirmed cases of COVID-19 globally hit 101,800 on Friday, with 3,460 deaths in total. While the number of cases in the U.S. is around 300, a recent report from the Atlantic claimed that only 1,895 people have been tested for the disease in the entire country.
The Department of Health and Social Care told Sky News that its action plan sets out measures to respond to a potential outbreak that are “reasonable … and based on the latest scientific evidence.”
“They will be continually kept under review and the impact of all measures will be carefully considered,” it said.