By Damith Wicremasekara
Cremation of people who die of COVID-19 will continue until modalities and guidelines for burial are worked out, a senior Health Ministry official said yesterday.
He said more time was required to prepare fresh guidelines and name designated places for burials.
He said locations for burial would need to be decided upon after consulting agencies which could provide an opinion about the possible pollution of ground water while taking into consideration the social impact as there could be opposition to burial in certain areas.
He said guidelines would include the manner the body should be buried, transportation of the bodies, the number of people attending the funeral and the maximum time a body could be kept before burial.
The Sunday Times learns that permission will not be granted to keep the body at home.
A discussion between health authorities and Judicial Medical Officers was held yesterday. Similar discussions are due to be held with other professional groups in the coming week.
The Health Minister on Thursday issued a gazette notification revising the previous decision where only cremation of COVID19 victims was allowed.
Accordingly, the Health Services Director General is required to issue the necessary directions for the burial.
The decision to permit burial of COVID19 victims came after months of protests and international pressure on the Government to lift the restrictions.