UK News Undertakers running out of space to store bodies as coronavirus lockdown causes funeral backlog
Mortuary space under pressure as funeral backlog builds up
At least 200 families in Glasgow are thought to be affected as services cannot take place without deaths being registered.Services are unable to take place until deaths have been registered and face-to-face appointments at registry offices are unavailable following coronavirus guidance.
Thepandemic has caused a backlog for Scottish undertakers and mortuary space is running out, according to a leading funeral director.
Services are being delayed because they cannot take place until deaths have been registered - and face-to-face registry office appointments are unavailable following the's COVID-19 .
-based Dom Maguire, who is the head of Anderson Maguire funeral directors, said funerals are being "held in limbo" - and that at least 200 families are affected.
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He said changes to make death registrations easier are part of Westminster's coronavirus emergency powers legislation but he does not expect these to take effect until the weekend at the earliest.
Mr Maguire - who is a former president of the UK Association of Funeral Directors, and was involved in pandemic contingency planning during the bird flu and Sars outbreaks - said: "This means from Friday last right through to this weekend every death that has occurred no arrangements can be made for these funerals.
"Funeral directors are now looking at a serious backlog of funerals.
"I know a number of funeral directors who have ordinarily adequate mortuary space who are under pressure.
"We have had to use reserve refrigeration space."
Coronavirus in Scotland: 50,000 may be infected as public told to prepare for weekend 'unlike any other'
Dr Catherine Calderwood's warning came as the latest official figures showed that 894 people in Scotland now definitely have coronavirus , a jump of 175 from the previous day's total of 719, with 25 deaths.But Dr Calderwood said the number of confirmed cases was likely to be a “very significant underestimate” and that the reality would be very different.
The experienced undertaker, who has already provided services for coronavirus victims, added: "Nothing equates to what the anticipated and forecast situation is going to be going forward.
"While we hope for the best we have got to plan for the worst."
He said that coffin manufacturers are working "24/7" in advance of anticipated increase in the number of deaths.
And he said there are plans to introduce video conferencing appointments with bereaved families at the 14 funeral homes he operates across Glasgow.
Staff have also been issued with protective equipment, and he said: "For funeral directors every death is important, whether it is from COVID-19 or otherwise.
"In so far as it is possible, funeral directors are going to attempt to give the best service that they can under what are going to be extremely difficult circumstances."
Glasgow City Council has advised people to monitor its website for death registration updates, saying in a statement: "Following Government advice Registrars are now preparing for remote registration for deaths. Face to face appointments are currently not available."
Quiz of The Week: 21 - 27 March 2020 .
Have you been paying attention to The Week’s news?In other measures to tackle the pandemic and its effects, Chancellor Rishi Sunak unveiled a package of financial aid for self-employed workers and 80% wage subsidies for staff kept on by their employers.