Updated: August 8, 2021 9:33:01 pm
The Sri Lankan Army said on Sunday it was ready to offer help to ease the burden on the country’s crematoriums and morgues that are working overtime to deal with an increasing number of deaths reported due to COVID-19.
The warning came as the country recorded its 5,000th death from the COVID-19 pandemic on Saturday. In recent weeks, the number of coronavirus cases and deaths have seen a remarkable increase and the health authorities are grappling with an overload of cases at hospitals.
Army Commander Gen Shavendra Silva said on Sunday said the senior health officials have been informed of the Army’s readiness to help.
“In the event of any crisis situation with regard to crematoriums and morgues, we have informed the director-general health services that the Army could step in to help,” said Silva, who heads the national operations center for COVID prevention.
“We could talk to the relatives and decide if the need is for cremation or burial,” he said.
Silva said that it was the Army that handled the burials since the outbreak of the pandemic.
The morgues are running out of capacity with the limited freezer capability being stressed. Crematoriums’ opening is limited to a number of hours and bodies cannot be cremated without a break. This has caused problems in handling an increasing number of cremations per day.
The Army chief said the situation was grave only in Colombo. Sri Lanka, which has recorded over 3 lakh COVID-19 cases, experienced its third wave in mid-April.