Guidelines for burial of COVID victims to be issued today

Guidelines for burial of COVID victims to be issued today

March 3, 2021   09:42 am

The guidelines pertaining to the burial of bodies of COVID-19 victims have been finalized, says Director-General of Health Services Dr. Asela Gunawardena.

Thereby, the guidelines are expected to be issued within the day, he added.

Drafting of guidelines was completed after the committee of experts appointed to examine methods for disposal of COVID victims met on February 27.

On Saturday, Dr. Gunawardena stated that the Circular on burial of COVID victims will be issued after deciding on a suitable location and seeking the approval of task force on COVID-19 prevention.

Co-Cabinet Spokesperson, Minister Keheliya Rambukwella announced yesterday (March 02) that Iranaitivu Island was selected as the burial ground of COVID victims.

The bodies of COVID victims to be buried were, meanwhile, kept in cold storage until the proper procedure for burial was finalized.

Extraordinary Gazette notification allowing the burial of COVID victims was published on February 25, amending the regulations made by the Minister of Health under Sections 2 and 3 of the Quarantine and Prevention of Diseases Ordinance (Chapter 222).

The gazette stated that regulations published in Gazette No.7481 of August 28, 1925 is further amended by the substitution of the words, “Cremation of Corpse” with the words “Cremation or burial of the corpse”.

“In the case of burial, the corpse of such person shall be buried in accordance with the directions issued by the Director General of Health Services at a cemetery or place approved by the proper authority under the supervision of such authority,” it read further.

Several months after the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic last year, the Sri Lankan government amended a law to make cremation compulsory for those who fall victim to the novel coronavirus with the intention of preventing any potential threat.

The Quarantine and Prevention of Diseases Ordinance (Chapter 222) was amended in this manner, through an extraordinary gazette notification issued by Health Minister Pavithra Wanniarachchi.

The decision sparked debate locally and internationally, as concerns were raised stressing that it is against the dictates of Muslim community’s faith.

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