Iraq News - Local News - Baghdadpost

Iraqis dig up Covid-19 dead to rebury in family graves

Capture
Mohammad al-Bahadli dug into Iraq's hot desert sand with bare hands to reach his father's corpse.

"Now he can finally be with our people, our family, in the old cemetery," 49-year-old Bahadli said, as relatives sobbed over the body, wrapped in a shroud.

After restrictions were eased for the burying of those who died of the novel coronavirus, Iraqis are exhuming the victims to rebury them in their rightful place in family cemeteries.

For months, families of those who died after contracting Covid-19 were barred from taking the body back to bury in family tombs, for fear the corpses could still spread the virus.

Instead, the authorities established a "coronavirus cemetery" in a plot of desert outside the shrine city of Najaf, where volunteers in protective gear carefully buried victims spaced five metres (16 feet) apart.

Only one relative was permitted to attend the speedy burials, which often happened in the middle of the night.

Victims from all religious sects -- both Shiite and Sunni Muslims, as well as Christians -- were buried there.

But on September 7, Iraqi authorities announced they would permit those who died after contracting Covid-19 to be relocated to the cemetery of their family's choice.

Many of those buried under the emergency rules came from other parts of the country.

"The first time, he was buried so far away," Bahadli said of his 80-year-old father's funeral rites.

"I'm not sure it was done in the proper religious way."

Read
Comments