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'Immediate family members' can attend funerals to a maximum of 10 people, says government

Updated advice from the HSE will be published shortly, the government said.

Deputy Assistant Secretary General at the Department of Taoiseach, Elizabeth Canavan speaking at Government Buildings today.
Deputy Assistant Secretary General at the Department of Taoiseach, Elizabeth Canavan speaking at Government Buildings today.
Image: Sam Boal

FAMILY MEMBERS CAN still attend funerals, the government said today, as long as “social distancing rules are respected”.

While the HSE had previously issued guidance on funeral services during the Covid-19 crisis, concerns have been expressed by many at the prospect of saying goodbye to a family member without a proper funeral. 

At a press briefing this morning, Elizabeth Canavan from the Department of the Taoiseach said that further guidance from the HSE is “now being developed”. 

Canavan said that “immediate family members can still attend funeral services burials and cremation provided the social distancing rules are respected. This relates to all funerals, including those arising out of Covid-19 deaths”.

Canavan said that the numbers in a church or at a graveside should not exceed 10. 

“This may be restricted further in small closed spaces,” Canavan said. “Individual churches may also put in place restrictions which respond to specific local circumstances.”

Last night, health officials confirmed a further 295 cases of the Covid-19 virus in Ireland and said another 8 people had died from the disease. 

There have now been 54 Covid-19 related deaths in Ireland; the total number of confirmed coronavirus cases stands at 2,910.

Previous advice from the HSE, issued earlier this month, advised that for anyone who has died from Covid-19 “there should be a closed coffin service and only a small number of people should attend the funeral to pay their respects”.

This HSE advice suggested the following measures for those who are close contacts of someone who had Covid-19 and died, and who wish to attend the funeral:

  • They should be advised to use their own private transport to travel to and from the venue and to avoid contact with people other than members of their own household
  • The funeral should be private and limited to those that the family identify as essential
  • Social distancing of at least 1m between identified groups should be recommended.

Funeral services are named on the ‘essential services’ list published by the government on Saturday. 

On Friday, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar announced a raft of restrictive new measures aimed at stemming the spread of the virus in Ireland. People are being told to stay at home for the next two weeks, until Easter Sunday 12 April.  

Data from the Modelling Advisory Group revealed that before restrictions were in place, the daily growth rate of confirmed Covid-19 cases was at 33%. This has fallen in recent days to around 15%. 

With reporting from Stephen McDermott

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