Mar 05, Colombo: Ending its strict cremation policy, Sri Lanka today for the first time today commenced the burial of the bodies of people who died due to the COVID-19 coronavirus.
The burial took place at a government selected place in the Ottamawadi area in Batticaloa, the Head of the National Operational Center for the Prevention of the spread of COVID 19, Commander of the Army, General Shavendra Silva said.
He said a high ground location was chosen in the Ottamawadi area in Batticaloa district with the instructions and approval of relevant health authorities so that there will not be any future health concerns arising from the burial of COVID-infected bodies.
The first to be buried today waa the body of an elderly Muslim woman who died about 20 days ago, residing in the Kottamunai area in Batticaloa. The body of the woman had been placed at the Aryanpathi District Hospital morgue in Batticaloa until the burial.
The Army Commander said several more bodies are to be buried at the location today and hereafter, the site at the Ottamawadi area in Batticaloa District will be used for burials of COVID infected bodies.
He said the burials were allowed as per the guidelines for burials issued by the Director General Health Services on Thursday.
The Sri Lankan government resisted changing its forced cremation policy, first ordered in a March 31, 2020 gazette notification, despite calls from human right organizations, United Nations experts, medical professionals and experts in Sri Lanka, and Muslim religious leaders in the country.
However, on February 25, Sri Lanka issued the gazette notification giving permission for the burial of the bodies of those who died due to COVID-19 infection.