One aspect of the horrifically disturbing Coronavirus Bill(UK) is the changes being made to the registration of deaths. Here’s how it’s explained in the Introduction. The Bill will (our emphasis):
– Expand the list of people who can register a death to include funeral directors acting on behalf of the family
– Enable electronic transmission of documents that currently have to be physically presented in order to certify the registration of a death
– Remove the need for a second confirmatory medical certificate in order for a cremation to take place
– Remove the Coroners and Justice Act 2009 requirement that any inquest into a COVID-19 death must be held with a jury. Other notifiable diseases will still require an inquest with a jury
How do these changes help in the containment of a pathogen, which is the alleged purpose of this bill?
Let’s take a look.
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“Enable electronic transmission of documents that currently have to be physically presented in order to certify the registration of a death”
Well, in an imagined scenario in which no one can leave the house for anything (except visiting the Job Centre apparently), then sending documents might have to be done electronically. But even so, the absence of hard copy in the records is obviously worrying. Electronic copies are much easier to fake or alter. The safeguards are reduced.
But, let’s be generous and accept this.
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Remove the need for a second confirmatory medical certificate in order for a cremation to take place
Is this about hastily managing the mass of corpses the most hysterical projections have been claiming are imminent?
Well, ok, let’s assume they are panicking and this is the plan.
* * *
Expand the list of people who can register a death to include funeral directors acting on behalf of the family
Now, how is this a precautionary or time-saving move?
The current UK requirement about who can register a death is very specific. The registrant must either be: (our emphasis)
- a relative who was present at the death
- a relative present during the person’s last illness
- a relative living in the district where the death took place
- anyone else present at the death
- an owner or occupier of the building where the death took place and who was aware of the death
- the person arranging the funeral (but not the funeral director).
It’s not hard to see the rationale for this. Once you remove all these requirements and start allowing people in the commercial business of death, who will have no connection whatsoever to the deceased or their family, the capacity for malpractice of various kinds to enter the process increases considerably. What good is served by increasing that risk? And what benefit accrues?
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Remove the Coroners and Justice Act 2009 requirement that any inquest into a COVID-19 death must be held with a jury. Other notifiable diseases will still require an inquest with a jury
Why do inquests into alleged Covid-19 deaths need to be held without a jury, when all other ‘notifiable’ disease inquests will continue to have juries present?
Are they assuming an inquest on a potential Covid-19 victim will be more likely to bring the pathogen into the courtroom than an inquest on anyone else?
Could they not find another way of getting round this perceived risk that didn’t involve dismissing the jury?
I’m inclined to think they probably could.
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What do all these new specifications add up to?
With this new bill in place it will be possible for a funeral director (a profession that requires no specific training or certification) to register deaths of people he has never seen and knows nothing about, and to then perform their cremation based on nothing but the original death certificate, signed by a solitary MD, who will not, of course, be required to make any statement to anyone about any part of this, unless there happens to be an inquest.
And if there is an inquest, an alleged involvement of the ‘novel’ coronavirus is enough grounds exclude the jury, comprised of members of the public with the right to ask questions, and make the case directly to the Coroner, who is , of course, a government official.
So, is this about ‘containment’ of the virus and expediting the process? Or about removing safeguards and public scrutiny? Is it quicker to call a funeral director (who is likely busy) and ask them to register your loved one’s death, or to simply go online and do it yourself?
How happy are you with this particular development?
You tell me.