Fears as Cape Town reports increase in burials amid COVID-19 third wave
South Africa’s legislative capital Cape Town on Tuesday said there was an increase in burials week-on-week due to the third wave of COVID-19.
In the last seven-day reporting period, a total of 638 burials were completed at Cape Town’s cemeteries up from 488 the week before, the city said in a media release.
Cape Town Mayoral Committee Member for Community Services and Health, Zahid Badroodien, said in the statement that official figures showed that the number was over 300 toward the end of June.
“What we are experiencing now is similar to the previous two waves of COVID-19 infections, when fatalities increased sharply.’’
The City has also urged funeral organizers to consider weekday burials to help alleviate the pressure on cemeteries, and alternatives to burials if religious belief allows.
Badroodien added that a cemetery alone experienced 215 burials in the past week, equal to an average of 30 burials per day.
He said this means a lot of foot traffic in and out of the cemetery, and this increased risk of close contact and increased pressure on management.
However, he said Cape Town has sufficient capacity to accommodate burials.
Presently cemetery visits in the city are prohibited to ensure that cemetery operations can focus on the increase in burials.
Visits would likely resume from August 10, depending on a reduction in the COVID-19 caseload, according to the city.
South Africa has relaxed COVID-19 regulations and moved to a lower lockdown level since Sunday evening, but the statement said the infection and fatality rates in the city remain high.
Badroodien called on citizens, including those who had been vaccinated, to continue to respect health protocols as well as people eligible to receive vaccines to register for the vaccines.