Covid bodies to be buried in parts of the East

Permission has been granted to bury the remains of COVID-19 victims in two locations in the East.

The Eastern Province Health Director said permission has been granted to utilize the Soodupaththinachenai area in Oddamavadi, Batticaloa and Irakkamam area in the Ampara district as burial grounds.

The two newly proposed areas increase the number of approved burial grounds for COVID-19 victims in Sri Lanka to three.

Earlier this week, Cabinet Spokesman Minister Keheliya Rambukwella announced that the Health Ministry’s technical committee has approved the Iranaitivu island in the Gulf of Mannar as a burial ground.

Following the announcement, residents of the island commenced a protest opposing the Government’s decision.

The burial of the remains of Covid victims, especially Muslim Covid victims, has been a long- standing issue in the country.

The Muslim Community and the Opposition have pointed out that cremation is against the community’s religious belief, and has repeatedly called on the Government to halt forced cremations.

The Government had until recently refused to approve burials as a practice to dispose Covid victims, citing various reasons, including the contamination of drinking water.

However, the Health Ministry issued a Gazette notification permitting the burial of Covid victims recently, while the guidelines to be followed for burials was also issued this week. (Colombo Gazette)