Cemeteries forced to hold burials at night to keep up with Covid deaths

Yahoo News Staff
·3-min read

Confronting photos have emerged of people mourning the loss of their loved ones at night in order to accomodate the rising number of coronavirus deaths.

A crowd has been captured gathering in the darkness at Vila Formosa cemetery in Sao Paulo, Brazil, to honour a 77-year-old woman who died from Covid-19.

Aerial photos show spotlights being used throughout Vila Nova Cachoeirinha cemetery to illuminate areas and accomodate for late-night funerals.

To keep up with demand, cemeteries in the city are authorised to stay open to 10 pm.

Relatives of a 77-year-old woman who died from the coronavirus pray during her burial at Vila Formosa cemetery in Sao Paulo, March 30. Source: Reuters
A crowd has been captured gathering at Vila Formosa cemetery in Sao Paulo, Brazil, to honour a 77-year-old woman who died from Covid-19. Source: Reuters

Sao Paulo registered 419 burials on Tuesday, the most since the pandemic began.

The city has sped up efforts to empty old graves, making room for a soaring number.

Gravediggers in Vila Nova Cachoeirinha cemetery worked in white hazmat suits on Thursday (local time) to open the tombs of people buried years ago and bag decomposed remains for removal to another location.

Relocating remains is standard in cemetery operations, the municipal secretary responsible for funeral services said in a statement.

Drone footage shows spotlights illuminating the graves during night burials amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) at Vila Formosa cemetery in Sao Paulo, Brazil, March 30, 2021. Picture taken March 30, 2021. Picture taken with a drone. REUTERS/Amanda Perobelli
Aerial photos show spotlights being used throughout Vila Nova Cachoeirinha cemetery to illuminate areas and accomodate for late-night funerals. Source: Reuters

However, it has taken on new urgency as Brazil suffers its worse coronavirus wave since the pandemic began over a year ago.

Brazil's health ministry reported 3,769 new Covid-19 deaths on Thursday, narrowly missing a daily record for a third straight day.

If burials continue at that pace, city hall said it will need to take more contingency measures.

Countries close their borders to Brazil

Bolivia announced on Thursday (local time) it would shut its borders to Brazil, citing concerns over a new variant of the disease detected in its larger neighbour.

A day earlier, Brazilian biomedical institute Butantan said it had detected a new variant that shared similarities with one first seen in South Africa, which appears more vaccine resistant.

The South African variant is more contagious, as is an earlier variant discovered in Brazil.

Chile also closed its borders to all foreigners on Thursday, while tightening a severe lockdown, as it surpassed one million cases recorded since the start of the pandemic.

"What is happening in Brazil is a global menace," Jos茅 Miguel Bernucci, secretary of Chile's National Medical Association, said.

Gravediggers bury a 32-year-old man who died from Covid-19 at night.
Gravediggers bury a 32-year-old man who died from Covid-19 at Vila Formosa cemetery. Source: Reuters

"Closing the borders won't help us so much with the variants that we already have here but with the new variants that can continue to be created."

Countries around the region have expressed concern Brazil is a breeding ground for new variants, as cases surge and Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro refuses to support masks and lockdowns.

Brazil's outbreak is the second-deadliest in the world after the US, averaging about 3100 deaths and 74,000 new cases per day over the past week.

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