A funeral home in central Russia is offering to stream funerals online for free to help clients maintain social distancing during the deadly coronavirus pandemic, local media reported Wednesday.
Russia’s republic of Bashkortostan, located 1,400 kilometers east of Moscow, has confirmed 22 of the country’s more than 10,000 coronavirus cases as of Thursday. Like many other Russian regions, authorities there have imposed lockdown rules for the duration of President Vladimir Putin’s paid “non-working” month of April.
Funeral home UfaRitual, located in the city of Ufa, offers clients either a pre-recorded video or a private live stream of its services free of charge, according to the Bash.news website.
“This is a forced measure in the current conditions, but we also don’t want to profit from it,” Alexander Morozov, UfaRitual’s head of customer service, told the MBKh news website.
The company is also reportedly opening online registration to avoid in-person visits, which are still available with added safety precautions.
Though uncommon in Russia so far, live-streamed funerals have been encouraged by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as a way to prevent the coronavirus from spreading.
Italy and China, two of the world’s hardest-hit coronavirus epicenters, have temporarily banned holding funerals altogether to avoid a further surge in contractions.
The U.S. has reported 432,132 coronavirus cases, the world’s highest, and 14,817 deaths. Italy has 139,422 cases and the world’s highest death toll of 17,669. China, where the virus originated, reported 81,865 cases and 3,335 deaths.