Nairobi county government has plans to cremate bodies should the number of COVID-19 related deaths rise during the 21 day movement ban.
On Monday, President Uhuru Kenyatta ordered for the cessation of movement in and out of Nairobi metropolis so as to contain the spread of the virus.
As a result, Nairobi County Health Services Executive Hitan Majevdia has warned that cremation will be the only way out seeing as county owned cemeteries are already full.
According to Mr Majevdia, Lang’ata cemetry, which was declared full some 20 years ago, is the only alternative, adding that Kariokor cemetery, partly owned by City Hall, is also full.
Other cemeteries within the city, he said, are private entities meaning the county government has no say in their day to day running.
“There is no other place. Langáta Cemetery has been full over the years and if the coronavirus leads to huge death toll then the only option will be cremation. But we do not want to reach that point,” said Mr Majevdia.
“There are some places in Lang’ata Cemetery with old graves where we recycle and allow to be reused but this might only be less than 100. And with the warning by Mr Mutahi Kagwe on Tuesday that we should be ready for a storm if the storm comes then cremation will be the only option.”
Should the deaths rise significantly, the Lang’ata crematorium is up and running, he said.
Further, the health CEC said, there are crematoriums in Thika and Machakos that could serve the people of Nairobi.
On Tuesday, chief government pathologist Johansen Oduor urged families of COVID-19 victims to pick their loved ones bodies within 24 hours failure to which the state will bury their bodies.
He warned that the piling up of bodies of COVID-19 victims is potentially infectious hence need to bury them as soon as possible.
Oduor indicated that the government would provide logistical support including transportation to avoid the pile-up in mortuaries.
“To avoid a situation where we have so many bodies lying in the mortuary and these are bodies that are potentially infectious we came to that decision of having that directive that bodies be buried within 24 hours of death,” he said.
He disclosed that the bodies of COVID-19 victims are not being preserved in the mortuary so that the morticians can be protected from getting infected with the virus.
Rather, their remains are put in two body bags where the outer one gets thoroughly disinfected to prevent any infections.
So far, 6 Kenyans have succumbed to the novel virus while 6 others have fully recovered.
179 cases have been confirmed, locally.