Medicolegal cases : A Potential Source of Coronavirus (SARSCoV-2) Infection in Indian Police Personnel
Keywords:Covid-19, migrants, medicolegal cases, police, guidelines
India accompanies the world witnessing a rapidly spreading global pandemic of Covid-19. On 24 March,
the Government of India ordered a nationwide lockdown that triggered the mass migration of daily wages
workers back to their native states. Without prior testing for SARS-CoV-2, it imposed a new challenge
towards the authorities to prevent the possible spread of infection. The study aims to determine the infection
status of migrants who died in the jurisdiction of Varanasi district during their journey and the possible risk of
spread of Covid-19 to frontline workers. The study was conducted between 24 March 2020 and 10 July 2020.
A total of 6 cases came to our department who died during travel. The nasopharyngeal and oropharyngeal
swabs were taken after the body arrived in the mortuary and sent for detection of SARS-CoV-2 by RT-PCR
method to the Viral Research and Diagnostic Laboratory (VRDL), Department of Microbiology of our
Institute. A total of six cases were included in this study, of which 3 were positive for SARS-CoV-2 while
others were negative. None of them had symptoms of Covid-19 infection, such as respiratory difficulties,
sore throat or fever. The guidelines issued by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare were limited
in scope to hospital deaths and lacked guidelines to be followed by police personnel while investigating
unnatural deaths. This brings the police personnel at risk of contracting Covid-19 infection as the cases are
getting tested after the arrival at mortuary. The only way of protection is prevention, which mandates laying
down the guidelines at the earliest.
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