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Tuesday May 21st, 2024

Sri Lanka Covid 19: Top docs say burial of dead will not spread disease

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s College of Community Physicians (CCPSL) has made a definitive statement as to whether the remains of people who die of Covid 19 can be buried saying that there is no solid evidence indicating that burial of dead bodies would increase the spread of the disease.

The CCPSL is the apex body of Community Medicine Specialists in Sri Lanka who have post-graduate qualifications in the subject.

The statement released on its website said with “the available scientific evidence and the impact of the decision on cremation on pandemic control activities at large, CCPSL concludes that adhering to global guidelines, each citizen of Sri Lanka should be allowed to be cremated or buried as per his/her and the family’s desire within the strict guidelines recommended by the Ministry of Health.”

The statement is the first from the country’s most authoritative body on the subject adding more heft to statements by Virologists, Epidemiologists and other experts against Sri Lanka’s current policy of cremating the remains of all persons who have succumbed to the pandemic.

Sri Lanka and China are the only countries of the world enforcing compulsory cremation which goes against the religious beliefs of adherents of the Abrahamic faiths, Judaism, Christianity and Islam. All other countries allow cremation or burial depending on the preferences of the family concerned.

In its statement, the CCPSL noted that there “are cultural implications of COVID-19 in relation to disease spread, case detection, treatment, prevention and control and also in relation to the management of dead bodies. These complex interactions may create situations which may adversely affect the pandemic control activities. The present guidelines on safe disposal of dead bodies of a person infected with SARS-CoV-2 virus in Sri Lanka have created such a situation.”

The College said that at the outset of the pandemic it accepted the government decision to cremate the corpses of all the people who died of Covid 19.

“However, the subsequent accumulation of evidence forces us to rethink and revise the recommendations. This position paper is intended to voice a scientific opinion in this debate after examining the currently available evidence,” it added.

The paper pointed out that with “more than 85,000 published scientific literature on COVID-19, not a single case has been reported due to virus transmitted through a dead body. A report published in May 2020 suggested that two forensic medicine professionals contracted COVID-19 from a corpse, but later an erratum was published by the authors that the article was not on a case of confirmed transmission of COVID-19 from the corpse. The claims on the SARS-CoV-2 spread directly through groundwater have not been scientifically substantiated and there is no indication that the virus could be transmitted through drinking water. As per the viral biology, these viruses need a host cell to survive for a long period.”

The statement also said that the principal sources and routes of potential transmission of the virus in water systems could be “hospital sewage, waste from isolation and quarantine centres, faecal-oral transmission, contaminated surface and groundwater sources and contaminated sewage, but not the dead bodies. Coronaviruses die off rapidly in wastewater within 2 to 4 days and the process is rapid in higher temperatures as in Sri Lanka.”

“COVID-19 pandemic has taught the world many lessons: one is about the importance of collective responsibility vs. individual responsibility in shaping the wellbeing of all. A proper COVID-19 control strategy has to be all-inclusive, lest, could end up in endangering the lives of all. This is the true meaning of Whole-of-Government, Whole-of-Society approach. A scientific cost-benefit evaluation is required in culturally sensitive issues which might affect the participation of some communities in disease control activities such as getting engaged in early detection, contact tracing, volunteering with correct information and in seeking healthcare,” it added. (Colombo, December 31, 2020)

Reported by Arjuna Ranawana

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  1. CNW PATHIRANA says:

    Good clarification. But still it says it cant stay in ground water for long like 4/5 days?? But does that mean it can stay there 2/3 days ? Then still a risk is there ! But support for burial with enough procedures to avoid getting into ground water.

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  1. CNW PATHIRANA says:

    Good clarification. But still it says it cant stay in ground water for long like 4/5 days?? But does that mean it can stay there 2/3 days ? Then still a risk is there ! But support for burial with enough procedures to avoid getting into ground water.

Sri Lanka declares May 21 as National Mourning day over Iranian President’s death

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka declared a national mourning day on Tuesday, May 21 in view of expressing its solidarity with Iran after sudden death of Iran President Ebrahim Raisi following a helicopter crash.

President Raisi and eight others including Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian were killed in the crash when the helicopter had a “hard landing” reportedly due to adverse weather conditions with heavy fog. However, President’s two convoy helicopters reached the destination safely.

“The Sri Lankan government has declared a national mourning day on tomorrow (May 21) on behalf of the sudden death of Iranian president Mr. Ebrahim Raisi,” the Department of Government Information said in a statement.

It also urged all the state institutions have to hoist the national flag half mast.

Raisi was in Sri Lanka on April 24 to launch the Uma Oya dam on a one-day official visit amid tight security. His helicopter crashed when he was returning to Iran after launching a dam in the Azerbaijan border.

President Raisi is seen as a hardliner and a potential successor to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

Earlier this month, Sri Lanka’s Foreign Minister Ali Sabry said the island nation will deal with Iran for investments and trade without being caught into the United States-led sanctions.

Sri Lanka was unable to receive $450 million from Iran for a recently opened Uma Oya multipurpose project started before the sanctions.

Sri Lanka now exports tea to Iran for no dollar payment. Instead, Sri Lanka tea producers are paid by the state-owned Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) in rupees for the pending crude oil import payments for Iran.

President Ranil Wickremesinghe expressed his condolences on the tragic incident.

“Sri Lanka is deeply shocked and saddened by the tragic death of President Ebrahim Raisi, Foreign Minister Amir Abdollahian and other senior Irani official,” he said in his official X-platform.

“I express my deepest sympathies and sincere condolences to the bereaved families, the government and the people of Iran.”

Raisi, a Muslim jurist, served as the eighth president of Iran from 2021 until his death. (Colombo/May 20/2024)

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Sri Lanka helps launch Global Blended Finance Alliance

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka has joined a group of nations led by Indonesia which aims to mobilise capital to achieve carbon neutrality, Minister of Water Supply and Estate Infrastructure Jeevan Thondaman said.

The Global Blended Finance Alliance mooted by Indonesia in 2018, was formally launched at the World Water Forum in Bali today.

Among the other founding members are Fiji, France, UAE, Kenya, Luxembourg and Canada.

“Through our collective efforts, the Global Blended Finance Alliance aims to mobilise both public and private capital to help nations achieve carbon neutrality and the SDGs,” Thondaman said on social media platform X (twitter).

“The world has a USD 2.5 trillion funding gap to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030,” he said.

Blended finance is the strategic use of development finance, such as public and/or philanthropic funds, for the mobilisation of additional commercial finance towards sustainable development in developing countries. (Colombo/May20/2024)

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Sri Lanka rupee closes slightly stronger at 299.60/75 to US dollar

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s rupee appreciated slightly to close at 299.60/75 to the US dollar on Friday, from 299.70/80 the previous week, dealers said. Bond yields were up.

A bond maturing on 15.12.2026 closed up at 10.15/35 percent from 10.05/15 percent.

A bond maturing on 15.09.2027 closed up at 10.45/55 percent from 10.25/40 percent.

A bond maturing on 01.07.2028 closed at 10.80/90 percent.

A bond maturing on 15.01.2030 closed at 11.70/80 percent.

A bond maturing on 01.10.2032 closed up at 11.90/12.05 percent from 11.85/12.00 percent. (Colombo/May20/2024)

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