The Union health ministry and the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) have issued guidelines for an “official document” for deaths due to Covid-19, the central government had told the Supreme Court, reported news agency PTI.
Centre, in an affidavit, also said that the Office of the Registrar General of India on September 3 had issued a circular to provide a Medical Certificate of Cause of Death to the next of kin of the deceased.
“It is submitted that the guidelines and circular have been issued in respectful compliance of the judgment dated June 30, 2021, in the Reepak Kansal v. Union of India and others, W.P.(C) No. 554 of 2021 and Gaurav Kumar Bansal v. Union of India and others, W.P.(C) No. 539 of 2021,” the court said.
As per the guidelines submitted, Covid-19 cases that have been diagnosed through RT-PCR test, molecular test, rapid-antigen test or clinically determined through investigations at a hospital or in-patient facility by a treating physician, while admitted at the hospital or in-patient facility, would be considered for the document.
Deaths occurring due to poisoning, suicide, homicide and deaths due to accident, among others, will not be considered as Covid-19 deaths even if Covid- 19 is an accompanying condition, the guidelines stated.
“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 (MCCD) in Form 4 and 4 A has been issued to the registering authority as required under Section 10 of the Registration of Birth and Death (RBD) Act, 1969, will be treated as a Covid-19 death,” according to the guidelines.
The Registrar General of India will issue necessary guidelines to chief registrars of all states and union territories in this regard.
According to an ICMR study, 95% of deaths take place within 25 days of a person testing Covid-19 positive, it was mentioned in the guidelines.
“To make the scope broader and more inclusive, deaths occurring within 30 days from the date of testing or from the date of being clinically determined as a Covid-19 case, will be treated as ‘deaths due to Covid-19, even if the death takes place outside the hospital/ in-patient facility,” the guidelines stated.
However, a Covid-19 patient, while admitted at a hospital or in-patient facility, and who continued as the same admission beyond 30 days, and died subsequently, shall be treated as a Covid-19 death, according to the guidelines.
The guidelines state that in cases where the MCCD is not available or the next of kin of the deceased is not satisfied with the cause of death given in the MCCD and which are not covered by the aforesaid scenarios, states and union territories shall notify a committee at the district level.
The committee would consist of an additional district collector, the chief medical officer of health (CMOH), an additional CMOH/ principal or head of department of medicine of a medical college (if one exists in the district) and a subject expert, for issuing of the “Official Document for Covid-19 Death”, the guidelines said.
The guidelines also enumerate the procedure to be followed by the committee.
The next of kin of the deceased shall submit a petition to the district collector for issuing of the document, it said.