Coronavirus in Delhi: Controversy over corona death count puts CM Arvind Kejriwal on backfoot, BJP says numbers fudged

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Updated: May 11, 2020 1:42 PM

Coronavirus in Delhi total cases: Delhi government claims that close to 7,000 people have tested positive for coronavirus and 66 have died.

According to the Delhi government’s claim, 66 people have died due to coronavirus. (File)

Coronavirus cases in Delhi: The Bharatiya Janata Party has accused the ruling Aam Aadmi Party of hiding the coronavirus toll in the national capital. BJP leaders have alleged that there is a difference in the data provided by the Delhi government and the three central government-run hospitals in the national capital. This mismatch has triggered a huge controversy, pushing the Kejriwal government and the AAP leaders on the backfoot.

“You can hide dead bodies but you CANNOT HIDE THE TRUTH!” tweeted BJP MP Gautam Gambhir. Another BJP leader Kapil Mishtra too lambasted the city government over the mismatch. He said that the city government was hiding the data and trying to divert public attention.

“At RML, Lok Nayak, AIIMS and Lady Hardinge, 116 people died in the four hospitals. Max hospital has reported 20 deaths. But the Kejriwal government claims that 66 people have died. At RML 52 have died, Lok Nayak 47 have died, AIIMS 14 have died, Lady Hardinge 3 have died and Max 20 have died. The toll of these five hospitals is 136, this is the official figure recorded in the hospital. This doesn’t include data of Rajiv Gandhi hospital, GTB, Safdarjung and Gangaram,” he said.

“Hundreds have died due to coronavirus in Delhi but the government is spreading lies,” he added. Lashing out at the city government for allowing liquor shops to do business, he said, “This is just a diversionary tactic of the government to hide the truth.”

Meanwhile, the Delhi government has admitted under-reporting of coronavirus deaths in the city. The city government has issued revised guidelines for hospitals to follow while reporting deaths.

Health Minister Satyendra Jain said that hospitals are reporting deaths without sending summaries and added that there is no question of hiding any data. “Many hospitals report deaths but don’t send summaries. We have directed all hospitals to send detailed summaries within 24 hours of the occurrence of deaths. This issue is due to summaries,” he said.

“If someone tests positive, it should not be hidden. Once the reports come, the hospitals have to inform the government. On Thursday, 448 fresh Covid-19 cases were reported from Delhi, which was an all-time high. If we wanted to hide the numbers, then we would have said 48 cases and not 448. If we wanted to hide, we could have said zero positive cases in a day,” Jain added.

 

According to data from these hospitals and confirmed by their officials to The Indian Express, the number of coronavirus casualties reported by Lok Nayak Hospital, Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital, Lady Hardinge Medical College and the Delhi and Jhajjar centres of AIIMS stands at 116.

The IE report said Lok Nayak Hospital which is a dedicated Covid facility has reported 47 deaths. However, the city government bulletin said that five patients have died in the hospital so far. At the AIIMS Delhi and Jhajjar campuses, 14 people have died. But the Delhi government health bulletin puts the AIIMS figure at two. The RML has recorded 52 deaths but the city government’s health bulletin until Thursday night said 26 people have died. At the Lady Hardinge, three people have died but the health bulletin has claimed no casualty.

Meanwhile, Vijay Dev, Chief Secretary, Delhi has written to hospitals asking them to share data with the government without delay. “It has come to notice that both public and private hospitals (both COVID dedicated and non COVID hospitals) are not reporting the deaths of positive cases of COVID-19 occurring in their hospitals in a timely and regular manner. It has been observed that despite repeated reminders, the death summaries of the deceased patients are not being provided to the Death Audit Committee, resulting in incorrect/delayed reports being submitted,” the letter said.

“The reporting of death cases of COVID-19 positive persons from health facilities (government and private) in Delhi, shall be strictly as per the SOP,” it said.

The city government has asked the hospitals to share all details including the reason behind the deaths and follow the standard operating procedure. It has asked hospitals not to delay and send reports by 5 pm daily.

The national capital has reported close to 7,000 positive coronavirus cases and 66 deaths. According to CM Arvind Kejriwal, only 1,476 are admitted at hospitals whereas rest are getting treatment at their homes or quarantine centres. Kejriwal said that 75% of the coronavirus cases in the national capital are asymptomatic or with mild symptoms.

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