Days after Supreme Court’s rap, Centre’s guidelines for COVID death certificate out

ays after being pulled up by the Supreme Court, the Centre has informed it that the Union Health Ministry and the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) have issued guidelines for issuance of an “official document” to the families of those who died of COVID-19.

The Supreme Court had on September 3 had rebuked the Centre over delay in framing guidelines for issuance of certificates for COVID-related deaths, saying that by the time the government issues the rules, the “third wave will also be over”.

“We passed the order a long time back. We have already extended the time once. By the time you frame the guidelines, the third phase will also be over”, a bench comprising Justices MR Shah and Aniruddha Bose had observed.

The Central government filed a detailed affidavit before the top court on Saturday evening, stating that the ministry and the ICMR had on September 3 jointly issued the guidelines.

As per the affidavit, the guidelines say that 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 also state only those COVID-19 cases will be considered which 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 hospital or in-patient facility.


Patients who 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 guidelines read.

If a patient dies 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 or in-patient facility, according to the guidelines.

Additionally, a COVID-19 patient who is admitted to a hospital or in-patient facility for more than 30 days and dies subsequently will also be treated as a COVID-19 death, according to the guidelines.


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