Cremation of COVID-19 Dead Will Continue
By Gagani Weerakoon and Methmalie Dissanayake
The Government will continue cremating the remains of COVID-19 deceased, according to the recommendations given by the main Experts’ Committee headed by Consultant Dr. Channa Perera, Health Minister Pavithra Wanniarachchi said in Parliament yesterday (7).
She was responding to a question, raised by All Ceylon Tamil Congress (ACTC) MP Gajendrakumar Ponnambalam, under Standing Order 27/2.
She said, the decision to cremate remains of COVID-19 deceased in Sri Lanka will not be withdrawn on religious, political or any other grounds. Wanniarachchi, in her reply, did not mention the names of the committee members, prompting Ponnambalam to seek a clarification from her.
Ponnambalam: “I raised this question on 10 December. After that another committee included virologists headed by Prof. Jennifer Perera on 24 December.
As I’ve heard, the committee has stated that COVID-19 victims can be buried or cremated. They have submitted their report to the Ministry as well. When this committee was appointed, Dr. Channa Perera’s committee had already recommended cremating the bodies. So, which report did the Minister refer to just now?”
Wanniarachchi: “The committee headed by Prof. Jennifer Perera is a sub-committee appointed under the main committee headed by Dr. Channa Perera to look into the matter. The sub- committee had handed over its report to State Minister of Primary Health Care, Epidemics and COVID Disease Control Dr. Sudarshini Fernandopulle. That report has been forwarded to the main committee and they are considering the report at the moment. The main committee will announce its final decision after studying the report submitted by the sub-committee.”