Probe sought on leaked letter about Health Ministry seeking 1000 body bags

Probe sought on leaked letter

26 April 2020 08:58 pm - 30     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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The Ministry of Health (MoH) has sought 1000 body bags from the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) to dispose bodies during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Additional Secretary (Medical Services) at the Ministry of Health and Indigenous Medical Services Dr. Sunil De Alwis told Daily Mirror the bags were required to dispose bodies of people who may die of various causes.

He dismissed speculation that spread on social media yesterday that the body bags were sought to dispose bodies of coronavirus victims.

A letter signed by Dr. Sunil De Alwis seeking 1000 body bags from the ICRC was leaked on social media yesterday.

When Daily Mirror contacted the ICRC to clarify if such a letter was sent to them an ICRC spokesperson refused to comment.

“We work with the MoH on various matters relevant to their work and this has been a long standing collaboration. The ICRC working modality is bilateral and confidential. Not only with MoH but our other interlocutors too. So this too is something that we will not comment on,” the ICRC spokesperson said.

When contacted, Dr. Sunil De Alwis confirmed he had signed the letter and was not sure how it leaked.  

Dr. Sunil De Alwis said that he had complained to the Police yesterday and an investigation had been launched to identify who leaked a confidential document on social media.

He also said that a misinterpretation of the letter had resulted in fear being spread among the public.

Dr. Sunil De Alwis said that under normal circumstances there are about 100 deaths a month in Sri Lanka.

He said that in a pandemic situation the bodies of people even who die of other causes must be disposed in body bags.

As there is a shortage of non-transparent, quality body bags in Sri Lanka, the request was put forward to the ICRC.(Easwaran Rutnam and Indika Sri Aravinda) 

  Comments - 30

  • harsha sk Sunday, 26 April 2020 09:35 PM

    For people who die during the election

    supun Sunday, 26 April 2020 10:29 PM

    its the election commission who decides about the election after 19A. Dont get why people blame any gov..

    Dinu Sunday, 26 April 2020 11:15 PM

    UmbA modayek ban be serious when we talk about serious things

    Jagath Lanka Monday, 27 April 2020 01:13 AM

    You mean m.p. s' who die due to heart attacks after the losses ?

    Samamn Monday, 27 April 2020 04:48 AM

    Grow up idiot!

    Sitha N Monday, 27 April 2020 07:34 AM

    Maybe the death rate from Covir-19 is higher than what we are officially told!!

    Upul Abeyrathne Sunday, 26 April 2020 09:37 PM

    Now it is clear that the government has been fabricating news to misguide people to have election to satisfy power gratification of the government

    Neville Gunasekara Sunday, 26 April 2020 09:54 PM

    Nobody died in South Korea due to elctions.

    lalu Sunday, 26 April 2020 09:59 PM

    Thunmulle Vimale sould be able to throw some light on how an official letter came to the social media

    Neville Gunasekara Sunday, 26 April 2020 10:05 PM

    The letter does not carry a" confidential" seal on it. Those concerned should have realized the confidential nature of the document which if leaked would have created pandemonium among the general public.

    Neville Gunasekera Sunday, 26 April 2020 10:12 PM

    Good doctor should have read the letter twice before subscribing. The letter is like a " podiekage liyuma"

    Mann Sunday, 26 April 2020 10:21 PM

    All of us know this is a deadly pandemic and being prepared for all aspects is the intelligent choice.

    S.P.Ramkumar Sunday, 26 April 2020 11:02 PM

    People of this country must be provided by full kits.

    roobarbie Monday, 27 April 2020 12:03 AM

    So this is routine stuff. Why Mirror sticking its nose in it to create a sensation. pathetic.

    Sajith F Monday, 27 April 2020 12:29 AM

    Trying to hide?

    saman Monday, 27 April 2020 12:53 AM

    Don't worry about how the letter leaked. Please come out with the reason for this order.

    Sajith Monday, 27 April 2020 02:47 AM

    The letter being circulated on social media is a fake.

    Ram Monday, 27 April 2020 03:31 AM

    This cause the readers to believe if the numbers of deaths due to corona released are correct

    Gen Monday, 27 April 2020 04:35 AM

    Who is responsible for this mess in SL?? Not the President not the people. Its the China government. There are over 500000 chines people working in SL and China embassy. Over to you brave Sri Lankans. Teach the do criminals a lesson to never ever ever to come back to SL. Find them hunt them and kill them as dogs Kalani tyres and Petrol and burn the pigs alive.

    Gamlath Monday, 27 April 2020 04:39 AM

    SL is full of people who are ready to interpret and mis-interpret every situation to their liking. The country of full of them who do not even have basic intelligence. Corona is not the only way people die and given the situation those people who die from natural causes also needs to be carefully managed. Get a life epeople.

    sss Monday, 27 April 2020 05:29 AM

    That is why SL politicos never pass freedom of information act , to hide news and corruption

    Silva Monday, 27 April 2020 07:04 AM

    A responsible official has to think in advance and organize all required utilities which are nerded. Therefore nothing is wrong by otdering these bags. Wrong is to use this kind of leaks to create panic for personal gain. As this letter was not meant to be circulated in the media, the person should be found and severely punished.

    Paul Monday, 27 April 2020 07:04 AM

    That mean doctors and judicial medical officers in these days cannot decide the reason for death when a person is dead. Wonderful h

    Bhatiya Siriwardena Monday, 27 April 2020 07:23 AM

    No transparency and truth telling in government affairs. Thats why we are suffering

    ni Monday, 27 April 2020 07:25 AM

    body bags ar not for securing dead bodies, probably to be used as storing food provisions... leaders of third world countries think all their people are ignorant... i wonder what our country new position is on the GRID ranking... corona will expose all the con artiste

    Paul Monday, 27 April 2020 07:27 AM

    They have already decided the number of deaths in the country due to corona epidemic. (HORATA ISSELLA KEHEL KENA PENNA )

    Paul Monday, 27 April 2020 08:06 AM

    They know very well how many people wil die during the period of elecion in June.

    Sokrates Monday, 27 April 2020 08:56 AM

    @ Gen. Here freedom of expression is abused. DM has an obligation to give this man's data to the police. What he says in his comment is incitement to murder in 500,000 cases and incitement to racial hatred. Gen must be a monster. Regardless of whether you like the Chinese or not, this monster belongs behind bars.

    R.K.Gamage Monday, 27 April 2020 10:12 AM

    Completely misleading story, at this moment why DM doing this, we shocked after seen this. where is your ethics...... R.K Gamage

    Prema Monday, 27 April 2020 05:36 PM

    All must understand that our Doctors,medical staff, Forces and Gvt. are the authorities and our saviors. Therefore all must cooperate and extend maximum support at this movement without bringing miner and unimportant issues . Please appreciate the contribution of all above.


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