Secretary to the Prime Minister and Chairman of the COVID-19 oversight committee, Dr Jimmie Rodgers, says there are now new arrangements in place for the repatriation of deceased persons to the provinces.

Dr Rodgers gave the update during the weekly COVID-19 oversight committee talkback show on the national broadcaster, SIBC.

“Under the new arrangement only caskets will be allowed to be transported to the provinces, people will not be allowed to travel with the casket, particularly to areas where they are still COVID-19 free,” Dr Rodgers said.

He says that during the course of the week the oversight committee will be able to advise when or whether it would be possible for relatives of deceased persons to travel with the casket.

“An assessment will be made based on the risk of spreading COVID-19 but at the same time respect for our culture.”

“We will also work closely with provincial governments, so they will tell us what they want us to do, so if they say it is ok for relatives to travel to and from provinces with deceased persons for burial, then that would make our work easier,” Dr Rodgers explained.

He says the risk of transmission will still be the overarching guide for any new advice or guideline.