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Interim recommendations for the management of forensic investigation during the COVID-19 pandemic: an Italian perspective

Di Luise, E. and Magni, P.A. (2021) Interim recommendations for the management of forensic investigation during the COVID-19 pandemic: an Italian perspective. Science & Justice . In Press.

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Embargoed until August 2022.

Link to Published Version: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.scijus.2021.08.002
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Abstract

The Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is spreading around the world, representing a global pandemic. In this context, governments from all around the world suspended all education, industry and business activities, alongside restricting the movement of people. Nevertheless, during this period, the activity of the law enforcement and the forensic investigators never stopped.

At the present time, clinical and forensic autopsies of SARS-CoV-2 virus-positive cases, as well as handling of potentially infected biological samples in forensic practice have given guidance. However, less attention has been given to the development of specific adjustments to the existing crime scene investigation protocols and procedures for this exceptional time.

This manuscript aims to share the methods and strategies adopted for the investigation of high priority criminal cases during the pandemic. Furthermore, other pandemic-related processes are critically explored, in order to propose adjustments for any forensic services to be prepared to face similar challenges in the future.

The overall goal of this manuscript is to provide a summary of the main measures and the procedures developed to make the operations possible, while safeguarding the technicians in the field and the activity in the forensic laboratory. In order to minimize the risk of infection for personnel,

adjustments to the standard practice have been proposed for each of the different phases of crime scene management, i.e. CSI call policy, equipment preparation, working groups, procedure at the scene, chain of custody and analyses of the evidence at the forensic lab.

As this is a current study, based on limited cases and limited sources in the literature, changes and updates to the indications provided in this paper may be needed in the near future, according to new virologic data epidemiological trends.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): Medical, Molecular and Forensic Sciences
Publisher: Elsevier BV
Copyright: © 2021 The Chartered Society of Forensic Sciences.
URI: http://researchrepository.murdoch.edu.au/id/eprint/62076
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