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Additional measures to expand cremation capacity and mortuary space at nationwide

  • Date : 2022-03-28
  • Hit : 796

Implementation of additional measures to expand cremation capacity and mortuary space at nationwide
전국 화장시설 화장능력 및 안치공간 확대를 위한 추가 조치 시행

Mar 22, 2022

The Central Disaster and Safety Countermeasure Headquarters (headed by Prime Minister Kim Boo-kyum) held a meeting presided over by Vice head 2 (Minister of Interior and Safety Jeon Hae-cheol) today at the video conference room of Government Complex Seoul with the central ministries and 17 major local governments to discuss weekly COVID-19 trends, ways to increase cremation capacity and mortuary space nationwide, and the current status of local governments’ COVID-19 response.

The Ministry of Health and Welfare (Minister Kwon Deok-cheol) prepared additional measures to expand cremation capacity and mortuary space to address funeral delays and overcrowding.

Starting March 16, the government expanded the operation of crematoriums and extended operating hours, leading to an increase in the daily cremation capacity from 1,000 to 1,400 cases.

However, the regional imbalance remained unresolved, with death toll and cremation demand concentrated in large cities such as the Seoul metropolitan area and major cities.

To maximize nationwide cremation capacity, the government decided to increase furnace operations to seven times per day for cremation facilities in all regions, the rule that previously applied only to the Seoul metropolitan area and metropolitan cities.

In addition, additional mortuary space is to be built as it is expected that the shortage of mortuary space will intensify as indicated by the increase in the utilization rate of morgue capacity at hospitals and funeral homes.

There are 1,136 funeral homes across the country that are operating mortuary refrigerators that can store 8,706 bodies.

In preparation for a possible surge in death toll, it was decided to secure additional spaces in hospitals, funeral homes, and crematoriums to install mortuary fridges and indoor-outdoor low temperature refrigerated cabinets (i.e. temporary mortuary cabinet using refrigerated compressors).

The additional mortuary cabinets in crematoriums will be used to temporarily hold the deceased who completed funeral but have to wait for cremation appointment.

Local governments have been requested to give an administrative guidance to all 1,136 funeral homes to accommodate funerals of COVID-19 patients.

Minister Kwon Deok-cheol said “I hope that this measure will help relieve some of the inconvenience in the funeral process for the bereaved family and help them commemorate the deceased with dignity” and urged neighbor local governments to make efforts to share cremation demand in nearby jurisdictions.

// For inquiries, contact Media Relations, Ministry of Health and Welfare 044-202-2047 or fairytale@korea.kr

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