Lilongwe City Council (LCC) says there has been an escalation of requests for burial services at its Area 18 Cemetery, which threatens to overwhelm its capacity.
Apparently, this comes at a time the city continues to register increased numbers of Covid-19 patients that are dying.
LCC Chief Executive Officer John Chome says, of late, funeral organisers have been waiting for some time before being assisted.
“In order to overcome this, the council has made the decision to augment the current manual practices with mechanised equipment to speed up burial processes,” reads part of the communication signed by Chome.
Chome says the new arrangement, as well as council fathers’ decision to increase handwashing stations within cemetery premises and decongestion mechanisms, would be effected today.
“The council would like to assure the public that it is working tirelessly to ensure that the burial services are efficient and timely,” he says.
LCC spokesperson Tamara Chafunya Sunday said cemetery officials used to serve three deaths per day.
She, however, said the number had risen, attributing the development to Covid-19-related deaths.
According to daily updates by the Presidential Taskforce on Covid-19, Lilongwe is among the cities that have been registering an increased number of Covid-19 cases and deaths.
Co-chairperson of the taskforce John Phuka on Saturday indicated that the city had recorded 149 new cases within 24 hours, coming second only to Blantyre, with 216 new cases.
On the day, the city had registered six deaths, which was the highest number on the day, followed by Blantyre, with two cases of death.
Phuka further indicated that the country had reached the highest number of admissions on the day, at 167, while the figure for active cases had surpassed the 5,000. Worse still, 300-plus have succumbed to the virus.
“It is trying times for our country but not all is lost. We should not despair or lose hope as we can stop the spread of the disease if all of us decisively choose to adhere to the preventive measures,” Phuka said.
Mathews Kasanda is a journalist who holds a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism from University of Malawi (The Polytechnic).
In 2015, Media Institute of Southern Africa awarded him the Best Print Media Education Journalist of the Year accolade.
He joined Times Group Newsroom in September 2019.