GUIDELINES ON POST MORTEM TESTING FOR NATURAL DEATHS

The Minister of Health, Dr Zweli Mkhize, announced that post-mortem swabs must be collected from all patients that died from natural causes, where a COVID-19 test had not been performed. This is to ensure that South Africa has better statistics to understand the extent of the pandemic. Confirmation of diagnosis is also necessary to institute appropriate public health action similar to the management of confirmed COVID-19 cases. 

These guidelines provide guidance on the post mortem testing for natural deaths. It provided specific guidance for the collection and submission of COVID-19 postmortem specimens from all people who died of natural causes outside health facilities. It covers those who were not tested for COVID-19 prior to death. 

*Please note*
The interim guidelines are based on what is currently known about the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19). The National Institute for Communicable Diseases will update these interim guidelines as needed and as additional information becomes available. 

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