Coronavirus: Brazil's biggest cemetery to dig out graves to free up space
Sao Paulo, June 13: Brazil's biggest metropolis has an unorthodox plan to free up space at its graveyards during the coronavirus pandemic by digging up the bones of people buried in the past and storing their bagged remains in large metal containers.
Sao Paulo's municipal funeral service said in a statement on Friday that the remains of people who died at least three years ago will be exhumed and put in numbered bags, then stored temporarily in 12 storage containers it has purchased.
These containers would be delivered to several cemeteries within 15 days, the statement said.
Sao Paulo is one of the COVID-19 hotspots in Latin America's hardest-hit nation, with 5,480 deaths as of Thursday in the city of 12 million people. Some health experts are worried about a new surge now that a decline in intensive care bed occupancy to about 70 per cent prompted Mayor Bruno Covas to authorize a partial reopening of business this week.
The result has been crowded public transport, long lines at malls and widespread disregard for social distancing. Many health experts predict the peak of Brazil's pandemic will arrive in August, having spread from the big cities where it first appeared into the nation's interior.
The virus has so far killed almost 42,000 Brazilians, and Brazil passed the United Kingdom on Friday to become the country with the world's second-highest death toll.
With inputs from agencies