Doctors have to categorize the death’s immediate cause, antecedent cause, and any other underlying causes.
In May 2020, the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) issued guidelines for recording COVID-19 deaths in India.
In its guidance, the ICMR said deaths with inconclusive test results but in which COVID-19 symptoms are present should be recorded as “probable COVID-19” fatalities. COVID-19 should also be recorded as an “underlying cause of death” when it leads to pneumonia, cardiac injury, and blood clots. The guidance also stated that those testing negative but with COVID-19 symptoms will be mentioned as clinically-epidemiologically diagnosed COVID-19.
The guidelines also outlined a standardized form where a health facility or a medical practitioner has to mention the sequence of events leading to death, which includes the immediate cause of death, cause of death antecedent to immediate cause, underlying cause of death, and the manner of death.
In an explanation, the ICMR said, "COVID-19 is a new disease and is a pandemic affecting all communities and countries, and robust data is needed in India to measure the public health impact of the ailment and to plan for timely health interventions."
The COVID-19 pandemic has given rise to a lot of potentially dangerous misinformation. For reliable advice on COVID-19 including symptoms, prevention and available treatment, please refer to the World Health Organisation or your national healthcare authority.