MEXICO CITY, Mexico – Mexico has ruled out cremating the remains of COVID-19 victims to avoid impeding the search for tens of thousands of people missing in years of narco violence, a senior official said.
The decision announced late Tuesday, April 14, reverses previous government guidelines for dealing with the remains of victims, which advised that "preferably" they be cremated.
"In a country where there are enforced disappearances, something which is a monumental social tragedy, there is a victims' law that says this should not occur," senior health official Hugo Lopez-Gatell said.
"You have to keep open the possibility of searching for missing persons at all times," said the official, who is in charge of the government's anti-coronavirus strategy. (READ: [ANALYSIS] Drug wars, mass incarceration, and the rise of organized crime)
The health and interior ministries will sign an agreement banning cremations in the coming days.
Mexico has reported more than 5,000 infections to date, with 406 deaths from COVID-19.
Victims of cartel hitmen or corrupt authorities often disappear without a trace. A wave of violence since 2006 has left more than 60,000 missing. – Rappler.com