The Centre has submitted an affidavit to the Supreme Court informing that the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare and the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has come out with guidelines for issuing official documents COVID-19 related deaths.
The Centre has also submitted a document validating that the Office of Registrar General had issued a circular to provide a Medical Certificate mentioning the cause of death to the deceased's next of kin.
Would Not Include Other Deaths Even If COVID-19 Was An Accompanying Factor
According to the guidelines issued by the government, those COVID-19 deaths would include those that were detected through RT-PCR, rapid antigen testing or were clinically determined through investigation at a hospital or an in-patient facility by a qualified physician. The category of COVID-19 deaths would not include the deaths resulting from poisoning, suicide, homicide and deaths due to accident, among others, even if COVID-19 was an accompanying condition.
The Tribune reported the statement from the guidelines, "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". The Registrar General will issue more guidelines to the chief registrars of all states and Union Territories.
95% Deaths Occur Within 25 Days
As per an ICMR study, 95 per cent of the deaths occur within 25 days of testing positive for COVID-19. However, the guidelines stated that deaths occurring within 30 days of testing COVID-19 positive would also be considered under the 'COVID-19 deaths' category even outside the hospital or in-patient facility. The clause would enable the government to make the scope better and more inclusive.