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Bereaved families urged not to delay funeral arrangements during the coronavirus outbreak

Liverpool’s top GP has praised the people of the city for their spirit of co-operation as she joins the call to urge bereaved families not to delay funeral arrangements during the coronavirus outbreak.

Dr Fiona Lemmens, head of Liverpool’s Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), has joined other prominent city figures in stressing that the burials and cremations must take place as quickly as possible to enable the system to continue to cope.

With extra pressure being placed on public services due to the coronavirus outbreak, partners across the city region are doing all they can to make sure vital services continue to operate effectively. 

With an increase in the number of deaths due to COVID-19, officials and faith leaders say it is important that funeralsare not delayed to ensure that the region’s mortuary facilities can continue to cope. 

To slow the spread of the virus, restrictions have been placed on the number of people who can attend a funeral service. 

However, both the health service and faith community say that the burial and cremation process must continue and urged against families attempting to delay the ceremonies.

The CCG is in the process of writing to all GP surgeries to help spread the message amongst the public.

In a joint letter to the people of the region, The Bishop of Liverpool, The Rt Reverend Paul Bayes and The Archbishop of Liverpool, The Most Reverend Malcolm McMahon, say: “We realise these are challenging times for everybody, but especially for those who have experienced bereavement, whether or not this has been caused by COVID-19. The people of Liverpool and the entire city region are working hard to keep each other safe and well: this has meant that sacrifices have often had to be made.”

They add: “It is imperative that funerals take place as soon as possible at the moment: it is not an option to delay the funeral until after COVID-19 has been brought under control.”

The letter adds that whilst the funeral ceremony may not be the one that families wanted for their loved ones, local churches would be able to help in organising services of tribute and celebration once the outbreak is over. 

Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service Area Manager Gary Oakford, who is helping to co-ordinate the region’s resilience response to COVID-19, said:

“We appreciate this will be a very difficult time for bereaved families and our deepest sympathies lie with anyone who has lost a loved one. However, we as a community are facing a challenge the likes of which we have never faced before, which is why we are asking everyone to work with us and follow the advice.

“Our faith network and funeral directors are working hard to ensure that every bereavement is treated with the dignity and respect it deserves and there will be the opportunity to hold a fitting celebration of your loved one’s life once these difficult times are behind us.”

For information about how to register a death in Liverpool, visit: www.liverpool.gov.uk and search ‘register a death’.

READ MORE: Extra evening services for key workers announced by Merseyrail

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