Iranaitivu Island in the Gulf of Mannar has been identified as the site to bury the remains of COVID-19 victims in Sri Lanka.
Cabinet Spokesman Minister Keheliya Rambukwella told reporters today (2) that a plot of land on Iranaitivu Island has been allocated for this purpose.
He further said the plot of land was proposed by a technical committee appointed by the Health Ministry.
Stating that it was decided to permit the burial of the remains of COVID victims on Iranaitivu Island, Minister Rambukwella said health authorities will announce the guidelines to be followed in this regard.
He further said that all preliminary measures have been completed and the plot of land on Iranaitivu Island has been prepared to commence the burial of the remains of COVID victims at any given time.
Concerns were raised by many parties, including the Opposition and civil society, against the forced cremation of Muslim COVID victims in the country.
The Muslim community has pointed out that cremation was against their religious beliefs.
The concerned parties have been calling on the Government over the past few months to approve burials as a practice to dispose the remains of COVID victims, alongside cremation, as per the World Health Organisation (WHO)’s health guidelines.
Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa recently announced in Parliament that burials will be permitted in Sri Lanka.
However, State Minister of Primary Healthcare, Epidemics, and COVID-19 Disease Control Dr. Sudarshini Fernandopulle later informed Parliament that the Expert Committee of the Health Ministry appointed to study the matter will take a final decision on it. (Colombo Gazette)