ICD 10 codes for the Novel Coronavirus infection

A new coronavirus, the Novel Coronavirus infection is emerging as an important and major challenge globally, the World Health Organization (WHO) warns in its press statement released 12 May 2013.

WHO experts say the disease which has infected people since 2012 in several countries in the Middle East region countries like in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia as as well as in other countries in the rest of the world, is caused by a virus related to the SARS virus, both of which belong to the coronaviruses family.

Health Information Management (HIM) / Medical Records (MR) practitioners must already know the existence of the new chapter, Chapter XXII Codes for special purposes – which is classed as an ‘other’ type chapter for the purpose of the axis of classification and which contains a limited number of categories, and the codes contained under Provisional Assignment Of New Diseases Of Uncertain Etiology that is codes U00 tp U89 in ICD-10 Version 2010.

I  can forsee the dilemma faced by HIM / MR  practitioners when assigning an ICD 10 code for a new disease like that caused by the novel coronavirus. Clear documentation in the patient’s medical record by the responsible consultant is important and holds the key in assigning the right codes.

I like to infer and I think it is the prevailing standard in assigning the Code U04.9 Severe acute respiratory syndrome [SARS] as well as assigning codes for all treated manifestations of the condition when a clear clinical diagnosis of SARS is found, and also assigning the Code B97.2 Coronavirus as the cause of diseases classified to other chapters after the Code U04.9, when the coronavirus has been identified as the cause of SARS,


  1. International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems (ICD-10) 2010, 10th Revision, World Health Organization (WHO), Geneva
  2. WHO Press Statement Related to the Novel Coronavirus Situation, World Health Organization (WHO), viewed 13 May 2013, <http://www.who.int/mediacentre/news/statements/2013/Novel_Coronavirus_12052013/en/index.html>


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