A psychiatrist says family members’ inability to see or have access to the bodies of their relatives who die from Covid-19 elongates their grief.

Dr Ruth Owusu explained that this is because they are unable to get closure which comes from burying a loved one.

She said besides that, the pain is stretched by the insufficient or lack of communication with the relative, who in most cases, might have spent a week or two in intensive care before passing on.

Defending the decision, Dr Owusu said funeral rites, including laying in state and filing pass are not necessary (for persons who die from Covid-19).

This, she said, is because such practices would expose the relatives and sympathisers to unnecessary risk of contracting the new coronavirus.

“They may be given the chance to see the body from a distance in the appropriate PPEs,” Dr Owusu said.

Relatives are not given access to the dead relative because the body is still contagious.

Ghana government declined to grant a request by the Netherlands for the transfer of the mortal remains of a Dutch, Samuel Waterberg, who died of Covid-19.

Mr Waterberg, 41, died at the Ga East Municipal Hospital in Accra on March 27 and his body was in the custody of the Ghana Health Service.

The Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands had written to the Ministry of Health on March 28, requesting that Mr Waterberg’s body be transferred to a private mortuary for burial.

However, in a letter, Ghana’s Health Minister, Kwaku Agyeman-Manu, said granting that request would flout Ghana’s public health protocols.

“We regret to inform you that according to our Public Health Regulations, persons who died in such instances are strictly handled and buried by the State. Therefore, unfortunately, we are unable to grant your request,” Mr Agyeman-Manu explained in a reply to the Netherlands embassy.