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New guidelines for recording Covid-19 deaths released

The deaths of those with negative or inconclusive test results but with symptoms of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) will be recorded as probable Covid-19 deaths, the Indian Council of Medical Research said in fresh guidelines on recording Covid-19 deaths released on Sunday.

The 11-page document states that Covid-19 is known to cause pneumonia, acute respiratory distress syndrome, cardiac injury, and clotting throughout the bloodstream, which may lead to death but Covid-19 would be recorded as the underlying cause of death. It adds that co-morbid conditions, like asthama, heart disease, diabetes or cancer, of a patient will not be recorded as the underlying cause of death. It adds that in a person with multiple co-morbidities, only those that could have contributed to the death should be mentioned on the death certificate.

“Patterns of disease and patterns of death can come from only standardised recording of clinical disease history and cause of death, and therefore epidemiological surveillance of disease and death are important. Robust data is needed from every district,” the document stated.

A draft of guidelines for performing autopsy, packing the dead body of a suspected or confirmed Covid-19 patient, transporting it, and storing it in mortuary was also released on Sunday.

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