Colombo, November 23 – The Health Experts Advisory committee which was appointed to study the possibility of burying COVID-19 victims continues to stand with the recommendation to cremate all coronavirus victims as of now but they continue to further review the situation with other countries, Dr. Asela Gunawardena, the Director General of Health Services, told Daily Mirror yesterday.
Dr. Gunawardena said that following the government’s recommendation that the matter should be reviewed two weeks ago the committee has recommended to continue with the earlier decision of cremation but will be studying case studies of other countries to submit a fresh report in a few weeks.
“Currently their recommendation is to stand with the earlier decision. They require to study literature on the subject available in foreign countries and the scenario in other parts of the world. They are to review the data and submit a report.
Right now there is no change in the earlier decision,” Dr. Gunawardena said. However he said this decision was not a final conclusion. The Muslim community in Sri Lanka continue to urge the government to allow burial of COVID-19 victims stating it was recommended by the World Health Organization and all other countries were adhering to burial rights.
The UN Resident Coordinator, Hanna Singer last week, in a letter to Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa also said that considering the evidence-based guidance of the World Health Organization, as well as the commitments of the Sri Lankan government to respect and uphold the rights of all communities, she hoped that the existing policy of cremating all COVID-19 victims be revised so as to allow the safe and dignified burial of COVID-19 victims. (Jamila Husain)