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NERC CEO orders funeral homes closed

August 21, 2015 By Victoria Saffa

Chief Executive Officer of the National Ebola Response Centre (NERC) has ordered the closure of funeral homes in the country after 20 August, but only for the storage of corpses, as they could sell coffins and carry on administrative duties.

Retired Major Alfred Palo Conteh was speaking during the weekly press briefing at the NERC conference room at the military headquarters in Freetown.

According to him, staff of funeral homes will be incorporated into the existing burial teams to ensure compliance and successful implementation of the amended policy, while the Connaught Hospital mortuary will operate as storage for repatriated and medico-legal corpses, subject to the directives from the Chief Medical Officer and the pathologist.

He said families in the Western Area will be offered the chance to negotiate safe and dignified burials at a cemetery of their choice within the Western Area only, and that it will cost Le25,000.

“The public is encouraged to adhere strictly to all the provisions under this amended policy as we journey to the end of the outbreak,” urged Mr. Conteh. “Funeral homes are requested to clear corpses currently stored in their facilities against today.”

He said the situation with the Ebola virus disease in the country remains encouraging as the country recorded zero cases last week, while it has gone for 12 days without recording a positive case of Ebola.

He said ‘Operation Safeguard Western Area’ commenced last week in all 69 wards in the Western Area which have been classified as high risk and low risk wards, respectively. He said seven high risk wards will be visited by four teams, comprising task force members, contact tracers, community monitors and ward survivors, to embark on active case finding.

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