The National Office of Buddhism (NOB) director, Narong Song-arom said yesterday that they will release a list of temples that are equipped to cremate those who died of COVID-19.
The list is being prepared in response to the growing number of complaints about temples refusing to accept COVID-19 victims, citing the lack of a closed-system crematorium that is designed to contain the cremation chamber’s exhaust gases.
Mr Song-arom admitted that some temples are ill-equipped to take in COVID-19 victims, as disease-control protocols demand temples cremate the body within 24 hours of the victim passing away.
The requirement, he said, was put in place to keep infections out of communities.
“Once a death from COVID-19 has occurred, families must report it to their local public health office immediately,” the NOB director said.
After that, the health office will contact the NOB’s provincial branch, which will then find temples that are capable of safely carrying out the cremation.
He stressed that the bodies infected with the virus must be cremated as soon as possible. “Please do not be choosy about temples,” the director said.
The NOB yesterday held a video conference with officials from its provincial branches that have been assigned to survey temples equipped with COVID-19 capable crematoria.
A list, Mr Song-arom said, will be released as soon as possible.
“This will gives families confidence that they will have a place to organise a funeral for their loved ones”, he said.
On Sunday, the body of a 76-year-old woman who died of COVID-19 the day before was rejected by four temples out of concern about possible contagion in Chachoengsao. Finally, the authorities brought the body from Phuttasothorn Hospital to be cremated at Wat Udommongkol in tambon Thakai.