FIVE days since the second confirmed 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) patient in the country died, the Department of Health remains uncertain on what to do next with his remains.
The 44-year-old Chinese male is the first fatality outside China where the virus originated, and the second of three confirmed nCoV cases in the country. He died on Saturday at the San Lazaro Hospital.
“If it’s not going to be cremated, and buried instead, I don’t know what would be the protocol with regards to that,” said Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said in a press conference yesterday.
Earlier, health officials said that when a person dies from an infectious illness, part of the protocol is to cremate the body as soon as possible.
Duque said the remains of the Chinese man were supposed to be cremated by a Chinese-owned crematorium but it backed out. Another crematorium, Duque said, refused to do the cremation, which was supposed to be last Wednesday.
“It is very unfortunate that the crematory owner decided not to, for not clear reasons,” he said but did not elaborate.
Duque said he asked the head of the San Lazaro Hospital, where the man died, to look for a public cemetery that will allow the corpse to be buried.
“I’ll just have to wait because we also have to get in touch with the Chinese Embassy because the initial agreement was for cremation to be undertaken,” said Duque.