Funeral services in Greece limited to 10 people with strict measures undertaken

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Greece have had a total of 464 confirmed coronavirus cases, announced this evening at the daily briefing by Sotiris Tsiodras, with 6 deaths being recorded.

The coronavirus outbreak has impacted all forms of life, including work, schools and church services. Strict measures are being applied for funerals, for both those who have died from the coronavirus and those who have died for other reasons.

All funerals in Greece are under strict quarantine management, which are held privately without a memorial meal. Funeral homes throughout the country have received instructions from the authorities regarding the procedure to be followed at the funeral of a person who dies from COVID-19.

Read More: All services of the Orthodox Church suspended by Ecumenical Patriarchate until end of March

Fanis Baboulas, the owner of funeral homes in several cities, including Thessaloniki, spoke with Sputnik News, who detailed the process of burying someone who passes as a result of the virus.

“If a person dies from the coronavirus infection, their body is first wrapped in a bag, and then placed in a closed coffin, which is not be opened. The funeral and burial should take place in the cemetery with no more than five close relatives present,” Mr Baboulas points out to Sputnik News.

Baboulas also states that funerals of people who died for other reasons are also held under strict conditions, under new laws brought by the government in an effort to reduce the spread of the virus.

“Only the closest relatives can enter the church, from five to 10 people; all the rest should be on the street. There’re no memorial meals or farewells to the deceased,” Mr Baboulas added.

“Two funerals took place yesterday and the day before yesterday. There were 9 people present at one funeral, and there were 14 relatives present at the other. The body of the deceased is not allowed to be in the house even for a short time. Everything is prohibited. The only thing that can be done is holding a ceremony (funeral service) in the church with a very small number of people present.”

Read More: His Eminence Archbishop Makarios: From today our churches will remain closed to the faithful

With new 100 person limits placed for indoor gatherings, put in place by the Australian government, His Eminence Archbishop Makarios announced that all Greek Orthodox churches in Australia were to remain closed to the faithful.

“Sacraments and funerals will continue to take place but only in the presence of the immediate family members,” the statement reads.

His Eminence asked the faithful to show “understanding, unity and confidence” during this difficult time.

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