Those dead within 30 days of testing +ve to be considered Covid fatalities: Govt
The death certificates of those who died at home or a hospital within 30 days of testing positive for Covid-19 and people who continued being treated for the infectious disease at hospitals beyond 30 days but died subsequently will show the cause of their fatality as Covid-19, the Centre has told the Supreme Court in an affidavit.
The new rules form part of the simplified regulations issued jointly by the ministry of health and family welfare and the Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR) on September 3 following the Supreme Court judgment directing the Centre to consider expanding the scope of Covid-19 deaths to such people who were admitted initially for the viral disease but subsequently died due to related complications.
Presenting the guidelines to the court over two petitions filed by advocates Gaurav Kumar Bansal and Reepak Kansal, expected to be heard on Monday, the Centre said: “COVID-19 cases, for the purpose of these Guidelines, are those which are diagnosed through a positive RT-PCR/ Molecular Tests/ RAT or clinically determined through investigations in a hospital/ in-patient facility by a treating physician, while admitted in the hospital/ in-patient facility.”
To make the scope broader and more inclusive, the affidavit, filed by additional secretary Govind Mohan of the home ministry, said: “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.”
It added: “A COVID-19 case, while admitted in the hospital/in-patient facility, and who continued as the same admission beyond 30 days, and died subsequently, shall be treated as a COVID-19 death.”
The guidelines excluded deaths due to poisoning, suicide, homicide, and deaths due to an accident from the ambit of Covid-19 fatalities, even if the deceased were positive for Covid-19.
The affidavit said that any death where the Medical Certificate of Cause of Death (MCCD) under Covid-19 has been issued by a medial or health attendant or owner of a place for disposal of dead bodies under Section 10 of Registration of Births and Deaths Act 1969 shall be treated as a fatality because of the infectious disease. In this regard, the Office of Registrar General of India has issued a communication to Chief Registrars of all states and Union Territories.
In the event where the next of kin of the deceased are not satisfied with the cause of death given in MCCD, their application shall be forwarded by the concerned state/UT to a four-member committee that will verify and issue remedial directions, including issuance of official document for Covid-19 death within 30 days of submission of the application.