CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY (MindaNews / 14 March) – There was no cremation for Mindanao’s first COVID-19 mortality, a Muslim, because it is “haram” (forbidden) under Islam so Patient No. 40, as tagged by the Department of Health (DOH), was buried according to Islamic rites but with some modifications.
Dr. Adriano Suba-an, DOH Northern Mindanoa Director, told a press briefing Saturday that they asked the family to do away with the traditional washing of the corpse.
Patient 40, a 54- year old male from Lanao del sur, died in a government hospital here on Friday evening, officials said.
Suba-an said Patient 40 succumbed Friday night to acute respiratory distress syndrome “due to severe pneumonia, with concomitant acute kidney injury” at the Northern Mindanao Medical Center (NMMC) here.
Persons who die from infectious diseases are supposed to be cremated to prevent the spread of the disease. But since cremation is not allowed among Muslims, the family agreed to the proposed modifications.
Suba-an said Patient 40’s family also agreed to do away with the traditional gathering of relatives and friends offering their collective prayers for the dead.
“We had to ask them to do away with these practices to prevent the spread of the virus,” Suba-an said.
“The family agreed,” he added.
Suba-an said the patient’s remains were placed in a body bag for burial in a location preferred by the family within 24 hours in accordance with their religious practice.
Patient No. 40, a resident of Lanao del Sur who moved to Metro Manila during the Marawi Siege in 2017 and who had just recently returned, is the sixth person to have succumbed to COVID-19 in the country.
Two more were reported to have died Saturday, March 14, bringing to eight the total number of dead out of 111 confirmed cases as of 9 p.m. on Saturday. A day earlier, the number of confirmed cases was only 64.
“We are sad that this happened to Patient No. 40. We pray that he would be the last person to die of this dreaded illness,” Mayor Oscar Moreno said.
Suba-an said the wife and daughter who took care of Patient No. 40 are already quarantined at the Northern Mindanao Medical Center.
Patient no. 40 was admitted at the Adventist Medical Center in Iligan City on March 3 and transferred to the NMMC on March 8.
Suba-an said the medical staff of the Adventist Medical Center who were in direct contact with the patient have been quarantined.
He said they have already identified some 100 persons who might have had close contact with Patient No. 40 from Manila to Iligan City.
“Even his seatmates in the plane that took him from Manila to Laguindingan have already been identified,” he said.
Suba-an said the DOH had set up 12 tracker teams to trace the persons who may have had close contact with Patient no. 40. (Froilan Gallardo / MindaNews, with reports)