While saying that the guidelines with regard to the burial of COVID-19 victims have been finalized and the relevant circular will be issued today, Director-General of Health Services Dr. Asela Gunawardena said today the decision to select Iranaithivu Island to bury COVID victims was temporary and preliminary.
He told media that the decision would be temporary until the committee comprising of Provincial Councils General Secretaries, Divisional Secretaries, Provincial and Divisional Health Directors and relevant government officers, determines a suitable location to bury COVID victims from their respective provinces.
“It has been mentioned in the circular that the relevant location would be sent to me for the approval,” he said.
“The Iranaithivu Island was selected until these findings are determined and approved,” the Health DG added.
He said all the expenses for the burials would be borne by the Government and added the bodies would be taken to the island from two locations such as the office of Chief Judicial Medical Officer, Colombo and the Welikanda base hospital.
“Two relatives per one COVID victim would be allowed to the island for final rites. The final rites are done under the supervision of the relevant Medical Officer Health or Public Health Inspectors and security officers,” Dr. Gunawardena underlined.
“The relatives will be permitted to perform religious observances once the body is brought to the hospital but the bodies will be taken to the burial grounds sealed,” he added.
An extraordinary gazette was issued by Health Minister Pavithra Wanniarachchi last Thursday (25) allowing the burial of COVID-19 victims. (Sheain Fernandopulle)