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Coronavirus: South Essex Crematorium and Havering cemeteries to close temporarily

PUBLISHED: 18:19 06 April 2020 | UPDATED: 18:31 06 April 2020

London's third temporary mortuary has been set up on the car park of South Essex Crematorium in Upminster. Picture: Stephen Huntley/HVC/SX Drones Ltd

London's third temporary mortuary has been set up on the car park of South Essex Crematorium in Upminster. Picture: Stephen Huntley/HVC/SX Drones Ltd

Stephen Huntley/HVC/SX Drones Ltd

Cemeteries and the borough’s crematorium are closing to the public as of Wednesday, April 8.

Positioned right next to the crematorium, the refrigeration units are already in place. Pictures: Stephen Huntley/HVC/SX Drones LtdPositioned right next to the crematorium, the refrigeration units are already in place. Pictures: Stephen Huntley/HVC/SX Drones Ltd

In accordance with new government regulations, the grounds at South Essex Crematorium and the cemeteries at Hornchurch, Rainham, Romford and Upminster will be closed.

The grounds will remain open until 7pm on Tuesday, April 7 but social distancing and stay-at-home advice remains in place for all residents.

Funeral parties will be limited to no more than 10 mourners who should consist of immediate family members and who are observing social distancing.

The news follows after South Essex Crematorium announced the construction of a temporary morgue in the car park in Corbets Tey.

The site at South Essex has been identified as a location as part of London’s strategic resilience response to the coronavirus pandemic, part of a London-wide effort and a “central geographical point to ensure an effective, dignified an respectful death management process” according to London Councils.

Director of public health in Havering, Mark Ansell, stresses that it is “sober and sad warning” that the current good weather must not tempt people to go outside more than is essential as the battle against coronavirus continues.

He said: “All the evidence we have is that, although the tough measures residents in Havering are using to fight coronavirus are working, here and around the country the situation is going to get worse before it gets better.

“The facility that has been set up at South Essex Crematorium is a terribly sober and sad warning that although we have put the right plans in place, this virus will take the lives of more loved ones yet.

“Everyone can do their bit to support front line NHS and care workers in that battle. The current good weather is a test and temptation for us all but the doctors, nurses and care workers fighting coronavirus need us all to only go out if necessary and limit periods outside to shopping for essentials or one piece of outdoor activity.”

The council leader, councillor Damian White, said that they will not close until Wednesday morning to give people an opportunity to visit the grounds one last time until the rules are lifted.

He said: “Please observe social distancing and try and limit your time spent at the grounds so as many residents as want to make a visit can do so. Those residents who are over 70 or have underlying health conditions are urged with regret not to visit the grounds at this time.”

The amount of deaths from coronavirus recorded at Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals Trust is currently at 36.


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