Hyderabad: The Union government on Sunday informed the Supreme Court that the health ministry and the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) have issued fresh guidelines for the issuance of official documents for COVID-19 deaths.

The death certificates of those who died at home or hospital within 30 days of testing positive for COVID-19 and people who are being treated for infectious disease at hospitals beyond 30 days but died subsequently will show the cause of fatality as COVID-19, the Centre told the Supreme Court in an affidavit.

The guidelines state that only those COVID-19 cases will be considered 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 physician while admitted at hospital or in-patient facility.

COVID-19 cases which are not resolved and have died either in a hospital 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 state.

In cases where the family is not satisfied with the cause of death given in the MCCD and which do not fall under any of the mentioned categories, a committee will be formed at the district level to address these concerns. The guidelines also state the procedure to be followed by the committee which includes the family members submitting a petition to the district collector for the issuance of the document.

The committee will also examine the grievances of the family and propose necessary remedial measures, including the issuance of amended "official document for COVID-19 death" after verifying the facts.

The applications for issuing the document and for redressal of grievances shall be disposed of within 30 days of submission of the application.

According to an ICMR study, 95 per cent of deaths take place within 25 days of a person testing COVID-positive, the affidavit said.

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