- In order to settle the agitation, he had instructed that the deceased not allowed to be cremated
The Chairman of the Weligama Urban Council (UC), Rehan D.W. Jayawickreme has banned unauthorised entry of the media into private vicinities of suspected Covid-19 cases. Jayawickreme issued the ban using his powers under the Urban Council Act.
Jayawickreme yesterday sent letters to two private television channels accusing them of unauthorised entry and invasion of privacy of a suspected COVID-19 case in Weligama on Thursday.
He said that a Muslim female who has been suffering from various illnesses for over 15 years, had visited the Weligama Hospital for a routine checkup, due to her regular physician being busy in Galle.
The doctor at the Weligama Hospital had reportedly claimed that she may be suffering from COVID-19.
The patient, who had gone home after meeting the doctor, had succumbed to one of her many illnesses the same day.
The Chairman of the Weligama UC said that opposition parliamentarians in the area had then informed the two private television channels that the woman had died due to COVID-19, following which the channels had video recorded the house of the deceased. This had resulted in agitation among the communities in Weligama and in order to settle the agitation, he had instructed that the deceased not be allowed to be cremated until the conducting of a COVID-19 test.
The results of the test conducted this morning had returned as negative, but the hospital had refused to hand over the body to the relatives, stating an autopsy must be conducted into the death.
The Chairman of the Weligama UC said he agreed with the outcome of the autopsy and had instructed the relevant officials to handover the body to the relatives to enable them to conduct burial according to the deceased’s religious belief.
Rehan Jayawickreme further said that as such incidents could lead to racial tensions, he issued letters to the two private television channels reprimanding their irresponsible actions. Jayawickreme said he was prompted to prohibit media personnel from entering areas under the Weligama UC without authorisation to video or record voice cuts with regard to suspected COVID-19 cases.