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Funerals in Vienna became online as coronavirus fears ramp up

Avoiding crowds is the only guaranteed strategy these days to protect oneself from the curse of coronavirus. Crowded ceremonies like funerals, weddings etc must be attended as less as possible to be infected by the killer virus. Austria's Govt decision to make the funerals online is a welcoming gesture and should be followed by all countries as a protective shield against the spread of coronavirus.

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Vienna funeral homes said Wednesday they are now offering to stream ceremonies online after the government restricted gatherings and travel to stem the COVID-19 outbreak.

Only up to five people are allowed to gather at a time, and movement has been strictly limited in Austria since last week as countries around the world fight to contain the virus.

Himmelblau, Vienna’s largest privately owned funeral home, has begun offering live stream of ceremonies since Friday, according to director Jacob Homan.

Six funerals have since been sent out, and more customers are interested in the free service, Homan said.

“It is difficult for many of the next-of-kin that they cannot attend the funeral,” he told AFP.

The funeral is filmed on a mobile phone and broadcast via the Zoom platform, which is secured by a password.

Customers also get the video to share with others later if they wish.

“Travel bans and the strict measures render it impossible at times to bid the final farewell,” noted Nina Laemmermayer, a spokeswoman for Bestattung und Friedhoefe Wien, which has also started to offer online streaming of ceremonies.

Read more: Coronavirus: One third of humanity under lockdown

All these developments can be traced back to the outbreak of coronavirus. People do not visit any of their relative or lovved one if they are infected with the coronavirus. The deaths that are caused by the novel coronavirus are the least attended.

Most of the times the hospital management bury the deceased person without the family members in attendance. Given these circumstances, the online funerals in Austria could become a worldwide ritual.

“The new service makes it possible for those left, especially those who are in high-risk groups, to take part in the funeral and ‘be there’ without any risks,” she added.

The country of nine million people has reported more than 5,500 new coronavirus cases so far, including 31 deaths.

Similar services are now also being offered elsewhere, such as France and Spain.

AFP with additional input from GVS News Desk.

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