Nov 13, Colombo: Minister of Health Pavithra Wanniarachchi states that the decision regarding the burial of people died of COVID-19 will be taken according to the final report of the expert committee.
The Minister of Health Pavithra Wanniarachchi expressed these views in a special statement today (13).
"Requests have been received from various quarters regarding the burial of the bodies of those who died due to COVID-19. However, the Committee of Experts appointed in this regard is due to give me several more reports,” she said.
However, the Cabinet did not take any decision on this matter at the last Cabinet meeting. When this matter came up to the Cabinet, the Cabinet informed me to act on the reports of the expert committee appointed in this regard. Therefore, I hope to take a final decision after receiving those reports,” she said.
Health Minister’s response comes after reports that the UN Resident Coordinator in Sri Lanka Ms Hanaa Singer in a letter to the Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa has raised concerns on the issue of cremation of bodies of Muslim Covid-19 victims.
Assuring that the United Nations and its specialized agencies, funds and programs will continue providing support on the management of the epidemic, Ms. Singer reiterated the concerns of the United Nations with the existing Ministry of Health guidelines, which stipulate cremation as the only method for the disposal of bodies suspected of COVID-19 infection.
According to World Health Organization guidance, people who have died from COVID-19 can be buried or cremated according to local standards and family preferences, with appropriate protocols for handling the body, the UN Resident Coordinator noted.