No risk in burial of COVID-19 dead – Ex MP Zuhair | Daily News

No risk in burial of COVID-19 dead – Ex MP Zuhair

If Sri Lankan medical authorities could permit tourists to land in Sri Lanka and visit multiple places in the country, knowing very well that there is a risk of spreading COVID-19, there is no acceptable reason to deny Sri Lankans the choice of the right to a dignified burial for their loved ones, who die due to COVID-19, former Parliamentarian M.M. Zuhair said in a media statement.

Zuhair said according to established scientific knowledge, there is no provable risk in burials which are permitted and practised, for close upon one year now, in 190 countries worldwide.

“Without in any manner belittling the government’s efforts to revive the much-affected tourist and hospitality industries, by restoring a semblance of normalcy notwithstanding the dangerous risk of a foreign COVID cluster emerging, we need to raise certain questions. What is it that prevents the Sri Lankan medical authorities restoring their credibility as a scientific community by permitting what the large majority amongst them had clearly declared that, burial poses no threat of Coronavirus spreading?” he questioned.

“Schools must reopen notwithstanding the foreseeable risk of COVID-19 spreading. Offices must function notwithstanding the risks. Airports must reopen, ports must function, buses and trains must operate, though the virus may spread. But why then sit on burials with not even one percent of the above risks, unless some persons want to showcase to the world that in Sri Lanka majoritarian extremism controls science. In the process why strengthen extremists amongst minorities?” he further emphasized.

Zuhair went on to say that the government-appointed expert committee headed by Senior Professor in Microbiology Prof. Jennifer Perera and comprising virologists, immunologists and microbiologists has recommended that both cremation and burials can be allowed.

“The Sri Lanka Medical Association (SLMA) has announced that burials can also be accepted as a mode of disposal of the bodies of COVID-19 victims. The College of Community Physicians of Sri Lanka (CCPSL) has supported burial as acceptable for COVID-19 victims,” he added.

“The Committee chaired by Forensic Pathologist Consultant JMO Dr. Channa Perera needs to take a fresh look at the reports of the other experts and pave the way for permitting burials under the recommended strict guidelines.

A large number of experts, political leaders, religious heads, journalists, civil activists and others have spoken loudly enough to provide for both options,” he said.