Sri Lanka

More hiccups as Sri Lanka authorities delay COVID19 burials until next week

Burials of COVID 19 victims are delayed until next week as helath authorities are yet to published guidelines despite order has been gazetted yesterday permitting burials, officials said.

Health Ministry officials will meet tomorrow for a discussion in Colombo to finalise the relevant guidelines, a senior ministry official said.

It is expected to publish set of guidelines to follow when performing burials of COVID 19 victims by early next week, he said.

UPDATE: Sri Lanka Health Director General Dr. Asela Gunawardene says burial of COVID19 deceased will happen only after relevant guidelines are published.

“Steps underway to find suitable burial grounds. Bodies of those requiring burial will be held in cold storage till then.”

Sri Lanka has ended 11 month long mandatory creamations of COVID 19 dead bodies last night by allowing options of burials and cremations.

The government changed its stance to allow burials after diplomatic intervention by Pakistan and pressure mounted on Colombo by Islamic Countries worldwide.

The new guidelines expected to outline suitable places for burials and other requirements that officials and families have to follow when performing burial rights for deceased victims of COVID 19.

The government first banned burials in April over concerns — which experts said were baseless — by influential Buddhist monks that the practice could contaminate groundwater and spread the virus.

The policy was decried by members of the South Asian nation’s Muslim community who constitute 10 percent of the 21 million population.

While health minister Pavithra Wanniarachchi did not give a reason in her announcement reversing the ban, official sources said Khan had raised the subject with both President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa during his trip earlier this week.

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