Firefighters have begun moving the bodies of coronavirus casualties in the West Midlands.
The Fire Brigades Union (FBU) said officers had started moving victims from hospitals, care homes and private properties.
A new national agreement means firefighters will handle bodies, put them in body bags and move them as required.
An FBU spokesman described the move as a "harrowing aspect of the crisis".
Firefighters form part of specialists teams including police officers and NHS staff who will handle Covid-19 deaths.
After London, the West Midlands has been the worst affected region with more than 1,831 deaths so far.
Officers from West Midlands Fire Service (WMFS) have been given physical and psychological training and been issued personal protective equipment, the FBU said.
Andrew Scattergood, of FBU West Midlands, said: "We hoped that it would never come to this, but there are now a considerable number of casualties in the West Midlands and firefighters are ready to step up and assist with the movement of bodies.
"It's deeply unpleasant work, but it is unfortunately necessary at this time."
Steve Price-Hunt, FBU West Midlands brigade secretary, said the teams would "likely see more bodies far more frequently than they are used to" and "under far more hazardous circumstances".
The union said there would be 24/7 support available.