For those who have lost someone due to Covid-19, the pain of the loss is made worse because they are unable to say a proper farewell. Loved ones are not allowed to participate in the final rites but can only pray over the graves after burial is done.
Many cemeteries have been a hive of activity due to an increase of burials including the Raudhatul Sakinah Bukit Kiara 1 Cemetary, located near Taman Tun Dr Ismail.
Malay Mail photographer Ahmad Zamzahuri visited the cemetery on Tuesday evening and witnessed 10 hearses carrying the bodies of Covid-19 patients arriving from Hospital Kuala Lumpur at around 6 pm. Ready-dug graves have been prepared for the burials of the eight males and two females which take around 20 minutes each. Dividing themselves into teams, the personnel moved quickly and efficiently to handle matters before full darkness settled.
A team of 40 people made up of Civil Defence Department and KL health department staff and volunteers were also at the scene to oversee things. They were dressed in full personal protective equipment (PPE), sealing every inch of their body to avoid contact or possibility of infection. Zamzahuri himself wore one, which took around 10 minutes to put on. Being dressed in full PPE added to the discomfort of working in the heat.
Zamzahuri said that the entire scene made him realise that the pressures of the pandemic are not only confined to doctors and nurses but also extended to those handling last rites who are struggling to handle the increasing number of the deceased.
As the burials take place, family members can only look on from afar, not having the chance to say a proper final goodbye to their loved ones. However, the Federal Territory religious department has granted permission for them to pray near the grave and to identify the lot number for their future reference after the burials have concluded.
It was a sobering experience for Zamzahuri, who left the cemetery with sadness, realising the hardships of those involved.
“In Covid-19, death is real. There is no last kiss, no goodbye for your loved ones,” he said.
Photo credit: Malay Mail