Updated guidelines on Covid-19 related deaths issued by the Ministry of Health on Tuesday state that the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) of the disposing of bodies of those who succumb to coronavirus would exclusively be cremation.
The fourth update on the Provisional Clinical Practice Guidelines on COVID-19 suspected and confirmed patients indicate that cremation remains the best practice to avoid further spread of the disease.
Judicial Medical Officers across Sri Lanka were issued the SOP to be followed in the event of a death a coronavirus infected person last week. Accordingly, the guideline stated that remains of all those who succumb to the disease would be cremated within 24 hours.
However, with reports of the second death due to coronavirus in Sri Lanka, many individuals and groups raised their concerns over the right of a Covid-19 infected person to be buried. Among them was Leader of Sri Lanka Muslim Congress Rauff Hakeem who, issuing a statement condemned the regulation. "It is unfortunate, regrettable and of course reprehensible that the Janaza of the Negombo Victim of the Covid 19 virus had been cremated without permitting the burial as is ordained in our faith," the former Minister said in a Facebook post.
The guideline issued by the Ministry today however states that bodies of confirmed and suspected persons as well as those with a suggestive history of the disease must be cremated. The body should never be washed under any circumstance, has to be placed in a sealed body bag and a coffin while the disposal of bodies must be monitored by police, Ministry of Health and Public Health Inspectors, the guideline said. (Kalani Kumarasinghe)