Prime Minister Imran Khan welcomed on Friday the Sri Lankan government's decision to allow the burial option for Covid-19 victims, following months of outcry over a ban.
The development is being accredited to the outcome of the premier's recent two-day official visit to the island country.
Soon after an official notification regarding the matter was issued, PM Imran took to Twitter, saying, "I thank the Sri Lankan leadership & welcome the Sri Lankan govt's official notification allowing the burial option for those dying of Covid 19."
I thank the Sri Lankan leadership & welcome the Sri Lankan govt's official notification allowing the burial option for those dying of Covid 19.— Imran Khan (@ImranKhanPTI) February 26, 2021
According to the notification, corpses of the victims of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic will now be allowed burial "in accordance with the directions issued by the Director General of Health Services at a cemetery or place approved by the proper authority under the supervision of such authority".
The notification further substituted the words "Cremation of Corpse" with the words "Cremation or burial of the corpse".
In March last year, the Sri Lankan health ministry had said that the burial of the coronavirus victims could lead to the virus spreading. It said the bodies of the deceased, irrespective of their religion, would therefore be cremated.
However, the World Health Organisation (WHO) stressed that cremation was a “matter of cultural choice.”
“It is a common myth that persons who have died of a communicable disease should be cremated, but this is not true,” it added.
Non-governmental organisations and minority groups in Sri Lanka filed petitions with the Supreme Court, pleading to stop the cremation of Muslim bodies. However, the court had dismissed all such petitions.