- Title: Coronavirus measures restrict funeral farewells at Bolivian cemeteries
- Date: 24th March 2020
- Summary: LA PAZ, BOLIVIA (MARCH 23, 2020) (REUTERS) PALLBEARERS WEARING GAS MASKS CARRYING COFFIN INSIDE THE CEMETERY, ACCOMPANIED BY FAMILY WITH FLOWERS CRUCIFIX IN CEMETERY VARIOUS SIDE VIEWS OF FUNERAL PROCESSION THROUGH CEMETERY VARIOUS OF PALLBEARERS PUSHING COFFIN INTO NICHE GATE CLOSED AT THE ENTRANCE TO CEMETERY AND MAN WEARING FACE MASK WALKING AWAY (SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) FRIEND OF A DECEASED INDIVIDUAL, LISABET QUISPE, SAYING: "They would not let me in to say goodbye to my friend, in this terrible time that we are living in with the Coronavirus, this is going to be unforgettable." SIGN ON CEMETERY GATE READING "VISITS ARE SUSPENDED UNTIL FURTHER INFORMATION, WE SUPPORT SOCIAL DISTANCING TO FIGHT AGAINST CORONAVIRUS" (SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) UNIDENTIFIED RELATIVE OF A DECEASED PERSON, BEGGING TO BE LET INSIDE OF THE CEMETERY, SAYING: "Please give me two minutes. I won't take longer. Please." FUNERAL VEHICLE WITH WOMAN DRIVER WEARING GAS MASK PALLBEARERS IN FUNERAL VEHICLE WEARING GAS MASK GENERAL VIEW OF CEMETERY COFFIN BEING BROUGHT IN BY PEOPLE WHO WORK FOR THE CEMETERY CEMETERY WORKERS WEARING MASKS COFFIN BEFORE BURIAL WITH JUST ONE FAMILY MEMBER PRESENT CLOSE UP OF COFFIN FUNERAL WORKERS PLACING COFFIN INTO ITS NICHE (SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) FAMILY MEMBER WHO WAS NOT ALLOWED TO ENTER THE CEMETERY, LUCIO GUTIERREZ, SAYING: "There has to be control, because otherwise we are going to catch the (coronavirus), and we will be cremated there." EXTERIOR OF CEMETERY VARIOUS OF COFFIN BEING CARRIED INTO THE CEMETERY FOLLOWED BY FAMILY MEMBERS EL ALTO, BOLIVIA (MARCH 23, 2020) (REUTERS) VARIOUS OF MILITARY VEHICLES ON THE STREETS OF EL ALTO
- Keywords: COVID-19 burials funerals health tradition
- Reuters ID: LVA001C6EX5JB
- Location: LA PAZ AND EL ALTO, BOLIVIA
- City: LA PAZ AND EL ALTO, BOLIVIA
- Country: Bolivia
- Duration: 00:02:54
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Topics: Health/Medicine
- Story Text: "Visits are suspended until further notice," says a sign on the gate to a Bolivian cemetery, the latest measure in the country's battle to contain coronavirus.
It is a move that will cause further pain for a people used to wakes attended by large contingents of mourners that can stretch to several nights.
Instead, they will now be asked to conduct rapid farewell ceremonies and burials with limited numbers of people to comply with a total and mandatory quarantine ordered on Sunday by the country's interim president, Jeanine Anez.
The Municipality of La Paz has limited burial hours and ceremonies are carried out without mass, a significant change in the majority Catholic South American nation.
In La Paz's general cemetery, staff from a funeral company wear gas masks as they bear a coffin on their shoulders, followed by close family members who walk behind with flowers.
"They will not let me in to say goodbye to my friend," Lisabet Quispe told Reuters Television as she watched from the gates. "This is a terrible time, living with the coronavirus disease, and this will make it unforgettable."
"Please give me two minutes, please, I won't be long, please," another relative begged the cemetery staff, who did not let him in to pay his final respects.
Most people though, understand the need for the stricter rules.
"There has to be control because, otherwise, we are going to catch the (coronavirus). If we ignore it, they will just cremate us instead," said Lucio Gutierrez, a relative of a deceased person.
Bolivia's government has resorted to using armoured vehicles to patrol the neighbourhood of El Alto, an impoverished satellite city of La Paz and a stronghold of former president Evo Morales, to ensure residents adhere to the 14-day quarantine which has been in force since Sunday.
Bolivia has registered 27 confirmed cases so far of coronavirus, according to the World Health Organization.
(Production: Santiago Limachi, David Mercado, Monica Machicao)
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