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Tough guidelines laid down by Health Ministry appointed Experts Committee for burial or cremation

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by M.A. Kaleel

Recommendations of the Health Ministry appointed Experts Committee comprising Virologists, Microbiologists and Immunologists to revisit the guideline (1) on disposal of corpses of persons infected with SARS – CoV – 2 virus has released the following recommendations.  

1. The dignity of the dead and their families should be respected and protected as far as possible throughout the process used for the disposal of the body.

2. Designated healthcare personnel should only do the handling of the corpses.

3. The body should not be handed over to the relatives for cremation or burial.

4. Ensure all those who interact with the body (the healthcare and mortuary staff) apply standard infection prevention and control (IPC) precautions. Continuous and adequate hand hygiene supplies, PPE, cleaning and disinfection supplies should be made available.

5. The bodies for cremation or burial should not be embalmed.

6. The cremation or burial should be carried out within 24 hours, once the order for disposal of the body is given.

7. The body should be laid inside a double layered body bag, prior to placing in the coffin. The body bags should be of 300 um thickness, padded with absorbent material, leak proof and non-biodegradable.

8. Viewing of the body will be permitted only within the healthcare facility/mortuary.

9. If the family wishes to view the body, open/unzip the body bag and allow them to view the body at a one-meter distance wearing a mask and keeping a distance of one meter from each other. Touching the body or the belongings of the dead person is not permitted. The body should not be removed from the body bag for viewing.

10. Only 4 persons from the family will be allowed to view the body. Two persons at a time should be allowed to view the body and a maximum period of 5 min/per two persons should be allowed for viewing the body under supervision. A total period of 10 min is allowed for viewing the body.

11. When the body is transported to a crematorium/burial site by health authorities, a maximum of 4 persons from the family could be permitted to accompany the body in a separate mode of transport.

12. The crematorium/burial site designated by the healthcare authorities should be used for disposal of the body.

13. The coffin shall not be opened for any reason at the crematorium or the burial site.

14. Allow 10 minutes for any religious activity under supervision at the crematorium/burial site prior to cremating/burying while observing social distancing and standard precautions. Only one religious dignitary and 4 persons from the family will be permitted to be present during the religious activity.

15. The bottom of the grave should be 1.5 m from the ground surface and 1.2 m above the water table. The distance between burial site and field drains should be 10 m minimum. The distance between burial site and drinking wells, boreholes, and wells should be 250 m minimum. The distance between burial site and springs and water courses should be 30 m minimum as per current recommendations by Global experts.



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Avishka and Sadeera power Jaffna Kings to nine wicket win

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Half tons by Avishka Fernando and Sadeera Samarawickrema powered Jaffna Kings to a nine wicket win over Dambulla Aura in the 3rd match of the LPL2022  at MRICS Hambanthota on Wednesday (07)

Dambulla Aura 121/9 in 20 overs (Jordan Cox 43; Maheesh Theekshana 3/20, Vijayakanth Vijaskanth 3/24, James Fuller 2/16, Zaman Khan 1/28)

Jaffna Kings 122/1 in 15.4 overs (Avishka Fernando 51 , Sadeera Samarawickrema 62 not out; Noor Ahamed 1/28)

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Govt. says selling state assets only way to build reserves and prevent crippling shortages

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By Rathindra Kuruwita

Cabinet spokesman Minister Bandula Gunawardena yesterday (06) said Sri Lanka wouldn’t be in a position to be part of the international trading system unless it boosted its foreign reserves by selling some of its assets. Gunawardena, who also holds media and transport portfolios said so at yesterday’s post-Cabinet press briefing.

Responding to a query about the government’s decision to divest vital national assets, the Minister said that if Sri Lanka did not shore up its reserves to the tune of over three billion dollars, international companies would not accept the letters of credit given by Sri Lankan banks.

President Ranil Wickremesinghe, in his capacity as the Finance Minister, has proposed privatising of several state enterprises including Sri Lanka Insurance and Sri Lanka Telecom.

“Former President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga sold a number of state owned enterprises. If we don’t increase our reserves, to over three billion USD soon, we will have problems importing fuel, and other essential items. Last week, Fitch again reduced our rating. No matter who governs Sri Lanka, they will all face the same problem. We need to build our reserves,” the Minister said.

Minister Gunawardane said that the need of the hour was to sell some assets and boost Sri Lanka’s reserves.

“China, India, Vietnam, and Malaysia are attracting a lot of investors. Only we have failed to do so, and we need to think why this is. Even our entrepreneurs are leaving for other countries. We need to change the way we think, if we want to attract investors to Sri Lanka,” he said.

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Ven Siridhamma, Mudalige granted bail; latter re-arrested

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Convenor of Bhikku Balamandalaya affiliated Inter University Students Federation (IUSF) Ven. Galwewa Siridhamma Thera leaving Court yesterday (06) after Kaduwela Magistrate Chanima Wijebandara granted him bail. The Thera was held under the Prevention of Terrorism Act for causing damages to public property during a protest opposite the Education Ministry, over three months back. The Magistrate ordered the Thera released after the police failed to identify the monk at an identification parade. However, IUSF Convenor Wasanatha Mudalige, who was also released by the Magistrate, after the police couldn’t identify him, was taken into custody in connection with some other case.

Pics by Kamal Bogoda

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