MANILA – Fast lanes have been allotted for hearses carrying cadavers of suspected or confirmed cases of coronavirus disease (Covid-19), the Philippine National Police (PNP) said on Sunday.
PNP spokesperson, Brig. Gen. Bernard Banac said hearses can pass through fast lanes after they secure clearance from authorities in their respective hospitals and local governments.
“For as long as may clearance na to transport yung namatay ng kaniyang pamilya ay ibabiyahe na. Ito po ay iku-consider ng PNP na emergency. Ito po ay makakalusot kaagad sa lahat ng pinaiiral na quarantine stations (For as long as they have clearance to transport the deceased, the PNP considers this as an emergency. They can easily pass through the quarantine stations),” Banac said in a Laging Handa public briefing.
As of Sunday, the Department of Health (DOH) reported a total of 25 deaths due to Covid-19.
It was not clear whether the remains of non-Covid-19 cases are also allowed to pass through fast lanes.
Under the guidelines, cargo trucks carrying food and non-food items are also allowed to pass through quarantine checkpoints.
Lanes for food and agricultural products have already been installed in North Luzon Expressway (NLEX) and South Luzon Expressway (SLEX).
Banac also reminded the public that wakes in Luzon are only limited to the immediate family of the deceased as well as priests, pastors, and ministers during the month-long quarantine.
“Wala pong mangyayaring lamay. Mahigpit pong pinagbabawal ngayon sa ilalim ng ating enhanced community quarantine ang pagkakaroon po ng lamay (There will be no wakes. This is strictly prohibited under the enhanced community quarantine),” he said.
The government earlier said that funeral and internment services are still allowed to remain operational despite the quarantine.
Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) President Archbishop Romulo Valles earlier stressed that “social distancing” is a “necessity” to minimize the risk of catching and spreading the virus.
Several bishops across the country have suspended public masses and other Holy Week activities and urged the faithful to tune in on events that are televised or livestreamed.
President Rodrigo Duterte placed the entire Luzon under an enhanced community quarantine which strictly requires residents to stay indoors and limit movement to accessing basic necessities.
Those exempted are uniformed personnel, health workers, emergency and other mission-critical services, and media personnel with accreditation from the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO).
The country is currently under a state of public health emergency and a state of calamity due to the highly-infectious disease which was first detected in Wuhan, China. (PNA)