Graves dug in Manchester ready for coronavirus crisis in case cemetery workers go off sick

GRAVES are being pre-dug in Manchester amid the coronavirus crisis in case cemetery workers are forced to go off sick.

Pictures taken today show eight open graves at Manchester’s Southern Cemetery with piles of earth next to them.

The council confirmed the “additional” graves were being dug in case its workers have to be signed off sick due to the pandemic.

But they denied they were being prepared specifically for coronavirus victims as the death toll continues to rise in the UK.

A spokesperson for Manchester City Council said: “It is relatively common practice for some graves to be dug ahead of them being specifically needed.

“With staffing levels fluctuating in the current period and the potential for more workers to self-isolate in the weeks ahead, it makes sense given the fair weather to prepare a small number of extra graves now as a contingency measure.

“We would note that although the country is experiencing a pandemic, and we have to be mindful of that, these graves are not earmarked specifically for Covid-19 victims or any other category of death.”

It comes as two large fridges have been set up in the car park of the Ghamkol Sharif Central Jamia Mosque in Small Heath, Birmingham.

These are intended to become temporary morgues during the COVID-19 crisis gripping the country.

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Samantha Day