All arrangements finalised to commence COVID burials

(COLOMBO, LANKAPUVATH) – All arrangements have been finalised to commence the burial of those who succumb to COVID-19, Director General of Health Services Dr. Asela Gunawardane said.

Speaking to the media, Director General Gunawardane said that the guidelines pertaining to the burial of bodies of COVID-19 victims had been finalized and all arrangements were in place to issue the circular containing these guidelines.

“Initially, the Health Ministry has identified Iranathivu Island for the burial of those who die of COVID 19 infection.

In the circular we clearly instruct the relevant provincial heads to decide a most suitable land for the burial of COVID dead bodies through a committee comprising of Chief Secretary of the Provincial Council, District Secretaries, Provincial Director General of Health Services and relevant authorities and submit their proposals for the approval of the Director General of Health,” Dr Gunawardane said.

He said that the transportation of the dead bodies will be done at Government expense and measures have already been taken to provide transport facilities from the Colombo Judicial Medical Officers’ office and Welikanda Base Hospital.

Two relatives of COVID 19 victims will be allowed to come to the burial ground. The burial will be conducted under the supervision of the Medical Officer of Health or the Public Health Instructor of the area. Although it is mainly the Muslim community which agitated for this facility, members of any community can opt for it. The authorities were also reported to be looking at other burial sites around the country.

The bodies of COVID victims to be buried were, meanwhile, kept in cold storage until the proper procedures for burial are finalised.

The 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).

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