By Saman Indrajith
UNP Leader and former Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe says that the government should take immediate action to either bury or cremate COVID-19 infected corpses, instead of keeping them in freezers over a long period.
Speaking to the media after meeting a group of health officials at his residence in Colombo on Thursday, the UNP leader said that the issue of burying or cremation of the bodies of COVID -19 victims had now become a political issue and it was wrong to keep those bodies in freezers.
“The government should make a decision on the basis of scientific facts and opinion of health experts. The health experts state that the virus can remain strong and active when storing corpses of corona infected people in freezers. Owing to indecision of the government in the face of protests and agitations, corpses of those who died of the coronavirus are now stored in freezers. These corpses should not be kept in freezers at all. Either the bodies should be buried or cremated immediately after death. This decision should be taken by the government,” the UNP leader said.
Wickremesinghe said that when a COVID-19 infected body after being kept in a freezer for several days is transferred to a coffin for burial or cremation the virus could be released to the outside environment.
He said that research has proved that the virus is safe in extreme cold. “Medical experts say that it can also be activated later. So keeping COVID infected bodies in freezers over a long period is a wrong decision. There is no need to get involved in politics for such matters. The government should take a direct and firm decision,” he said.
“This should be done without any further delay. It is important to look into the recommendations of the World Health Organization as well as the manner in which countries such as Korea, India and Germany have acted in this regard,” he said.
Six nabbed with over 100 kg of ‘Ice’
By Norman Palihawadane and Ifham Nizam
The Police Narcotics Bureau (PNB) yesterday arrested six suspects in the Sapugaskanda Rathgahawatta area with more than 100 kilos of Crystal Methamphetamine also known as Ice.
Police Media Spokesman, Deputy Inspector General of Police, Ajith Rohana told the media that the PNB sleuths, acting on information elicited from a suspect in custody had found 91 packets of Ice.
A man in possession of 100 kilos of heroin was arrested in Modera during the weekend and revealed that a haul of Ice had been packed in plastic boxes.
The PNB seized more than 114 kilos of Ice from the possession of a single drug network.
According to the information elicited from the suspects, more than 100 kilos of Ice were found.
The PNB also arrested six persons including two women with 13 kilos of Ice, during an operation carried out in the Niwandama area in Ja-Ela on Sunday.
DIG Rohana said the ice had been packed in small plastic boxes and hidden in two school bags.
PM intervenes to iron out differences among coalition partners
By Norman Palihawadane
Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa yesterday said that he was confident that differences among the constituents of the SLPP coalition as regards the May Day celebrations and the next Provincial Council elections could be ironed out soon.
Leaders of all SLPP allied parties have been invited to a special meeting to be held at Temple Trees with the PM presiding on April 19.
Prime Minister Rajapaksa said it was natural for members of a political alliance to have their own standpoints and views on matters of national importance. “This is due to the different political ideologies and identities. It is not something new when it comes to political alliances world over. In a way, it shows that there is internal democracy within our alliance.
The PM said: “As a result of that the allied parties may express their own views on issues, but that does not mean there is a threat to the unity of the alliance. An alliance is more vibrant and stronger not when all the parties think on the same lines but when the member parties have different ideologies.”
Thilo Hoffman remembered
A copy of the book “Politics of a Rainforest: Battles to save Sinharaja” was handed over to Dominik Furgler, the Swiss Ambassador in Sri Lanka by the author of the book, Dr. Prasanna Cooray at the Swiss Embassy in Colombo last Tuesday, to be sent to the family of the late Thilo Hoffman in Switzerland.
Hoffman, a Swiss national, who made Sri Lanka his second home for six decades, was a pioneering environmental activist who led the battles to save Sinharaja from the front in the early 1970s, abreast with the likes of Iranganie Serasinghe, Kamanie Vitharana, Lynn De Alwis and Nihal Fernando of the “Ruk Rekaganno” fame. That was the era when the trees of Sinharaja were felled for the production of plywood by the then government. Hoffman was also a livewire of the Wildlife and Nature Protection Society (WNPS) for a long time. Hoffman died in 2014 at the age of 92.
The book includes a chapter on Thilo Hoffman.
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