KUALA LUMPUR, July 28 — For anyone who has lost someone due to Covid-19, the pain of the loss is made worse because they are unable to say a proper farewell.
In a Covid-19 death, loved ones are not allowed to participate in the final rites but can only pray over the graves after burial is done.
For the past few weeks, some cemeteries in Malaysia have seen an increase of burials including at the Raudhatul Sakinah Bukit Kiara 1.
Located near Taman Tun Dr Ismail, the cemetery is sometimes a hive of activity both night and day.
In the past few days, burials have been conducted in the evenings.
Malay Mail photographer Ahmad Zamzahuri visited the cemetery on Tuesday to catch a glimpse of what goes on.
“I arrived in the evening and at about 6pm, 10 hearses carrying the bodies of Covid-19 patients arrived from Hospital Kuala Lumpur.
“There are already graves dug, ready for the burials that will soon take place.
“The entire scene made me realise that not only are doctors and nurses struggling under the pressure of the pandemic, but those handling last rites are also struggling to handle the increasing number of the deceased.
“There is a team of 40 people made up of Civil Defence Department and KL health department staff and volunteers.
“They are dressed in full personal protective equipment (PPE) and they take about 10 minutes to get ready.
“This includes sealing every inch of their body to avoid contact or possibility of infection. I am wearing PPE as well.
“As everyone knows by now, it is difficult to work while dressed in full PPE, much less to work in the heat.
“Today, there are 10 bodies: eight males and two females.
“Dividing themselves into teams, the personnel start moving quickly and efficiently to handle matters before it becomes too dark.
“It takes about 20 minutes to complete the burial service.
“As all this is taking place, family members can only look on from afar. It is sad when you don’t have the chance to say goodbye to your loved one.
“It is only after that with the permission of the Federal Territory religious department that they are allowed to pray near the grave and to identify the lot number for their future reference.
“It was with sadness that I left the cemetery. Realising the loss those family and friends have endured.
“In Covid-19, death is real. There is no last kiss, no goodbye for your loved ones.”