Belgian undertaker buries almost only COVID victims as second wave hits the country
By Marine Strauss and Yves Herman Chapelle-lez-Herlaimont, Belgium (Reuters) - In a small town south of Brussels, funeral director Stephane Geeurickx says almost all the dead he has buried in the last weeks died of COVID-19, which was not the case when the pandemic first took hold.
By Marine Strauss and Yves Herman
Chapelle-lez-Herlaimont, Belgium (Reuters) - In a small town south of Brussels, funeral director Stephane Geeurickx says almost all the dead he has buried in the last weeks died of COVID-19 , which was not the case when the pandemic first took hold.
Belgium, a country of 11 million, is in the grip of the second wave of the virus and has one of the world's highest COVID-19 mortality rates. It has also seen one of Europe's sharpest jumps in cases this autumn.
"In March-April, we noticed a number of deaths higher than normal but they were not necessarily directly linked to COVID-19 ," Geeurickx, who owns Centre funéraire S.O.S Décès, told Reuters.
But now almost all the funerals he organises are for those who contracted the virus.
Belgium's COVID-19 death toll stands at 13,216, according to data from the Sciensano health institute.
Standing in front of brown and white wooden coffins, Geeurickx said none of the eight employees of the funeral home founded by his parents in the 1980s, had asked to stop working during the pandemic or had become infected.
"We had no cases of contamination and there were no big specific fears even regarding the handling of COVID-19 deceased," Geeurickx said.
He said the funeral home applies full protective measures when handling the bodies of COVID victims. However, when conducting funerals, they are sensitive to relatives' needs and do allow families to hug and be close to each other.
Belgium has imposed social restrictions and closed non-essential shops and services until Dec 1 to try and curb the spread of the virus.
(Reporting by Yves Herman and Marine Strauss, Editing by Alexandra Hudson)
This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.
Find latest and upcoming tech gadgets online on Tech2 Gadgets. Get technology news, gadgets reviews & ratings. Popular gadgets including laptop, tablet and mobile specifications, features, prices, comparison.
By Shaina Ahluwalia and Geert De Clercq PARIS (Reuters) - France reported 35,879 new coronavirus cases on Wednesday, taking the total to 1.86 million, overtaking Russia and making France the worst affected country in the European region. With a total of 1,865,538 confirmed cases, France is the fourth-worst affected country in the world for novel coronavirus infections, according to a Reuters tally.
By Jessie Pang and Sharon Tam HONG KONG (Reuters) - Hong Kong's pro-democracy opposition lawmakers said on Wednesday they would resign in protest against the dismissal of four of their colleagues from the city assembly after Beijing gave local authorities new powers to further curb dissent. The Chinese parliament earlier adopted a resolution allowing the city's executive to expel lawmakers deemed to be advocating Hong Kong independence, colluding with foreign forces or threatening national security, without having to go through the courts
SANTIAGO (Reuters) - Chilean authorities have accused a Colombian man of murdering at least seven people, including several who were homeless on the streets of the capital Santiago. Police arrested Diego Ruiz Restrepo, 30, on Monday after using surveillance camera images to identify him, the regional prosecutor's office said on Twitter.