Government to announce stand on burial issue soon

The Government is to announce its stand on the burial issue soon, the Health Ministry said today.

Dr Palitha Karunapema, the Director of the Health Promotion Bureau said that the technical committee report on the burial issue has been handed over to Health Minister Pavithra Wanniarachchi.

He said that the Health Minister is to announce the Government stand on the matter very soon.

The committee appointed by the Health Ministry to study the issue on the disposal of the bodies of coronavirus victims, has recommended both burial and cremation.

The committee had been appointed to study the issue after Muslims objected to the forced cremation of Muslim coronavirus victims.

In its report leaked on social media, the committee notes that it firmly stands by on the previous recommendation and guidelines on exclusive cremations of dead bodies as the most appropriate method of disposal which was based on the understanding at the time.

However, the expert committee says it has revised the recommendations on disposal of bodies to include both cremation and burial, while adhering to the specified safety precautions.

The committee says the body should be buried within 24-hours and placed in a double-layered body bag prior to being placed in a coffin.

The committee also says there is no evidence to prove the virus can transmit through water contamination after burial.

The expert committee also notes that the dignity of the dead and their families should be respected and protected as far as possible throughout the process used for the disposal of the body.

The eleven member committee was headed by Professor Jeniffer Perera and included Professor Neelika Malavige and a number of virologists and microbiologists. (Colombo Gazette)