Authorities in Shenzhen, Guangdong have come under fire after a “smart funeral” page has stated that the deceased need to have a negative nucleic acid test in order to start cremation proceedings.
A screenshot of the requirements on the Shenzhen Bureau of Civil Affairs APP was shared online, sparking bewilderment amongst netizens.
The screenshot that was shared online, prompting users to provide proof of a nucleic acid test. Image via SCMP.
The APP said applications for cremation services were “required to provide proof of nucleic acid testing of the deceased, in addition to the death certificate and the notice of transporting of remains, if the deceased is from closed-off management areas, restrictive control areas and prevention areas,” referring to areas that have COVID-19 cases or places nearby, as reported by South China Morning Post.
If a nucleic acid test could not be provided, a relative or close contact’s test would suffice, the funeral home confirmed.
Many jokingly queried the policy, asking, “Do the families need to take the dead body to get a nucleic acid test report?”
Some did show understanding, stating that deceased persons could still carry the virus and would therefore require special handling.
A transport staff member at the Shenzhen Funeral Home told Jieman News that although the policy was necessary, it can be ignored for now as Shenzhen does not have any controlled areas.
Shenzhen hasn’t reported a locally transmitted case of COVID-19 since May 10.
Another staff member, who hasn’t been named, told Tianmu News that the policy was issued by the city’s health commission, civil affairs bureau and public security bureau in early 2022, but they had been flexible in its implementation.
“It is generally necessary to have proof of nucleic acid testing within 24 hours [of death]. If not, the epidemic prevention sites in Shenzhen can also conduct emergency testing and the results will be available in one or two hours. Test results from family members will also do in cases where it is not possible to produce such a report for the deceased,” they were quoted as saying.
[Cover image via Weibo@纽斯频中文网]