Coronavirus: The devastating reality of funerals during alert level 4 lockdown

A video supplied to Newshub shows the devastating impact lockdown is having on funerals for victims of COVID-19.

The video was sent from a family member of New Zealand's sixth COVID-19-related death. Their 91-year-old father was one of four deaths announced on Tuesday, part of Christchurch's Rosewood Rest Home cluster that was receiving treatment at Burwood Hospital.

In the two minute-long video, two funeral home workers are seen placing a coffin in the back of a hearse. The family member then appears to have a brief moment with their father's casket before it is driven away.

The relative, who has requested to remain anonymous, told Newshub the reason why they want people to see their video.

"To all the people who want to deny testing to people without symptoms or who want to end the lockdown early, this is what a COVID-19-related funeral looks like at the moment," they say.

Funerals can be held during alert level 4, but only people in the bubble of the deceased can attend.

The family member wrote in an opinion piece on Tuesday they found it "hard to accept" they couldn't say goodbye to their dad, and even asked if they could wear PPE to be in the same room as him.

"My request to don full PPE so that I could be with him and hold his hand and tell him that I love him was denied. I was told it wasn't possible.

"Saying goodbye to dad was me speaking to him over the phone and listening to his rattling breath as the virus shut him down."

They want the "bullshit rule" to change so families are able to comfort and say goodbye to loved ones as they die.

However, they say the love the nurses gave to their family and their dying father shows "they really do care".

"Sitting for hours in full PPE, holding the hands of the people who are fighting the virus, they provide the contact and comfort that I and others cannot. They go out of their way to personalise the care by finding out about the patients so that they are people who have lived wonderful lives, instead of being just patients," they say.

They say all healthcare workers in New Zealand and around the world are "heroes of health".

Ministry of Health Director-General Dr Ashley Bloomfield said on Tuesday he is currently investigating whether it could be allowed under level 4 of the lockdown.

"This is clearly a very distressing time for family members and this is something I have asked my team to look at very specifically - the visiting policy for people who are not just dying but others in hospital.

"I genuinely [feel] for someone who has had two parents, both parents pass away. I absolutely understand how people must be feeling and that is why we are specifically looking at that policy."

New Zealand's COVID-19-related death toll currently stands at nine.