17 September 2020 - NW2025
Ismail, Ms H to ask the Minister of Health
(1)What (a) are the reasons for performing Covid-19 tests on corpses and (b)(i) are the full details and (ii) is the total number of Covid-19 tests that were performed on corpses; (2) whether he has found this practice to be a waste of resources; if not, what is the position in this regard; if so, what are the relevant details?
(1) (a)-(b) (i) The testing of deceased persons applies only to persons that have died of natural causes outside of a health facility where their COVID status is not known. The reason for performing this test is to protect the close contacts of the deceased should the person have been positive then the close contacts may be infected. Secondly our death statistics for COVID do not include persons that had died of COVID outside of a health facility since nobody was aware if they were infected with COVID. This data will allow us to include deaths of persons outside of health facilities that are COVID positive.
(b) (ii) The NHLS informs us that there were 86 tests performed on deceased persons to date, of which 13 tests were positive.
(2) The practice cannot be considered to be a waste of resources given that testing a deceased person for COVID-19 would assist in halting the spread of the infection from their contacts to others.