Iloilo City restricts wake of non-COVID deaths to 3 days

A wake for a deceased person in Iloilo City can now only last for three days.

Following reports of an incident where a person later found to be positive for the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) attended a wake and had direct contact with 41 individuals and infecting 26 of them, the city leadership has come up with an edict providing guidelines for the conduct of wakes and funeral services in the entire city of Iloilo.

Effective today, October 22, 2020, the maximum number of days for a wake shall be 3 days from the time the remains of the deceased are first displayed for viewing, with a logbook kept for possible contract tracing later if needed, according to Executive Order No. 173 signed by Iloilo City mayor Jerry Treñas.

The order only applies to non-COVID confirmed and non-COVID suspect deaths, to all types of wake and funeral services held within the city of Iloilo whether at a funeral home, family residence, or church.

The said EO added that the total number of wake days shall be limited to 3 days regardless of whether the family or significant others of the deceased choose more than one venue for the same.

Also, the Treñas order only allows the deceased person’s immediate family and relatives up to the third degree of consanguinity, those living in the same household as the deceased, and a minister to attend the wake or funeral service.

Iloilo City Mayor Jerry Treñas (Photo credit: CMO)

In addition, all persons attending the wake and funeral service shall strictly observe standing health protocols imposed by the city government such as the wearing of face masks and face shields, frequent hand-washing, and physical distancing, among others.

Also, a logbook of all individuals attending the wake must be kept, indicating their name, age, address, date and time of visit, and contact number for easy contract tracing by authorities.

Finally, consumption of refreshment served during the wake or after the burial services, if any, shall be done with the proper observance of physical distancing.

“Despite our goal to pay respects for our departed relative or friend, we must also consider that social gatherings can put any person at risk. Bal-an guid namon ang kasakitan nga madulaan sang pinalangga, apang dumdumon man naton ang buhi naton nga mga kasimanwa. Tatapan naton sila [We all know the pain of losing a loved one, but we also need to consider the welfare of those who are still alive in our midst. Let’s care for them],” Treñas quipped.

The latest figures suggest COVID-19 cases in Iloilo City is again on the upswing, with new cases at 148 for the last 3 days alone, tops in the entire region in that period. Negros Occidental, who still leads the region with the most number of active cases at 1,238, has a 3-day haul of ‘just’ 125 new cases, while erstwhile regional leader Bacolod City is remarkably down to fifth with ‘only’ 38 new cases for the same period.

Meanwhile, Iloilo City still tops with the number of recoveries in that same 3-day stretch, but only because of the 197 recoveries it posted on Monday. Since then, it only had 2 recoveries, logging zero recoveries on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, Bacolod City had 153 recoveries in the first half of the week while Negros Occidental had 72 in the same 3-day span./(N. Glenn Aragon/INews)

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