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Covid-19 death or not? Ahead of third wave, Centre issues new guidelines for issuing ‘official document’ for Covid deaths

covid deaths, covid indiaPhoto: Reuters

The Union Health Ministry and Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) have together come up with the guidelines that will issue “official documents’ ‘ in case of COVID related deaths. The guidelines, as submitted by the Centre to the Supreme Court in case of seeking compensation for COVID deaths, noted that cases that are diagnosed through an RT-PCR/ Molecular Test/ Rapid Antigen Test, or that have been clinically determined in a hospital or an in-patient facility by a physician while one is admitted there, will be recognised as Covid cases.

The government has decided to consider deaths occurring “within 30 days from the date of testing or from the date of being clinically determined as a Covid-19 case… as deaths due to Covid-19 even if the death takes place outside the hospital/ in-patient facility”. This has been done “to make the scope (of the provision) broader and more inclusive”. The ICMR study , however, shows COVID-19 deaths occur within 25 days of a person testing positive.

“Covid-19 cases which are not resolved and have died either in hospital settings or at home, and where a Medical Certificate of Cause of Death… has been issued to the registering authority as required under Section 10 of the Registration of Birth and Death Act, 1969, will be treated as a Covid-19 death”. Deaths due to suicide, poisoning, homicide, accidents etc will not be counted as Covid-19 deaths even if the virus infection is an accompanying condition, noted the government guidelines.

The government has been asked to come out with simplified guidelines for the issue of official documents to family members of Covid-19 victims. This will help the covid victims pursue correction of papers issued by the municipal or other authorities in connection with the death.

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