Coronavirus in Delhi: Let them send details, says Delhi health minister on MCD’s COVID-19 death toll

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June 13, 2020 10:24 AM

On the allegation that MCD hospitals are not being used by the Delhi government, the health minister on Friday said that these hospitals are not to be used by the Delhi government.

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A day after the MCD claimed that the COVID-19 death toll in Delhi stood at 2,098, nearly double of the official figures shared by the city government, Delhi Health Minister Satyendar Jain on Friday said, “let them send the details to us”.

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He also dismissed speculation on extension of lockdown, saying it won’t be.

On a question on COVID-19 death toll claimed by the civic bodies, he said, all COVID-19 protocols are being followed in cremation or burial of bodies of people who were infected by the virus or suspected to have been affected.

Senior leaders of the three BJP-led municipal corporations on Thursday had claimed that over 2,000 COVID-19 deaths have taken place in Delhi, while the official tally stood at 1,085 as reported on Thursday.

“If that is their claim, then let them send us the details, like age, medical history, test reports. Every death count must have corresponding documents to back the death, otherwise they are just figures,” Jain told reporters.

It also happens that we observe cases wherein the patient was cremated under the COVID-19 protocol, but their reports show negative later on when obtained from the hospitals, he said.

The Delhi government, in a statement on Thursday had said, the COVID-19 death audit committee is “working impartially”, and this was “not a time for blame-game but to work together”.

Senior civic leaders on Friday reiterated that Delhi government was trying to either “hide death figures” or “revealing it late in piecemeal fashion” to “save its face”.

“Earlier also the Kejriwal government had reported less death when our tally from crematoria and burial sites had shown nearly three times of the official toll. And, now as per these figures, the number of deaths from COVID-19 in Delhi stands at 2,098 — SDMC (1,080), NDMC (976), EDMC (42),” Jai Prakash, the chairman of Standing Commitee of the NDMC, claimed on Thursday in a press conference.

On a question on Delhi High Court’s remarks on Thursday that the national capital was heading towards becoming the “corona capital” of the country, Jain said the coronavirus situation in Delhi needs to be seen in context.

It is the pandemic of the century, after the 1918 Spanish Flu, he said.

“To say, that cases are more here than there… Yes, in some places, it is far ahead of others, in some it is behind others,” he said.

“Countries which saw the outbreak first, now cases have started to slow down there. It is spreading very fast. It is of the same family as the Spanish Flu virus. The most dangerous thing about novel coronavirus is that it spreads very fast,” Jain said in response to a question on the high court’s remarks.

The national capital is fast heading towards becoming the “corona capital” of the country, observed the Delhi High Court while expressing concern over the spike in COVID-19 cases and directed that all private hospitals equipped with labs to test for coronavirus and having ICMR sanction be permitted to conduct the test.

Delhi recorded 2,137 fresh coronavirus cases on Friday, the highest single-day spike here, taking the COVID-19 tally in the city to over 36,000-mark, and the death toll due to the disease climbed to 1214, authorities said.

For the last one or two months, the cases of COVID-19 are doubling after every two weeks, he said.

The Delhi government on Friday said it accepts the observations of the Supreme Court with “absolute sincerity” and if any gap is brought to its notice, the adminstration will work on it “immediately”.

Meanwhile, sources said, a team from Delhi secretariat visited LNJP Hospital and the morgue at the Maulana Azad Medical College (MAMC).

This came a day after a private channel aired a video purportedly showing a body lying in a ward at the LNJP Hospital, a dedicated COVID-19 facility.

Sources also said, action has been taken against two employees in this connection.

However, there was no official confirmation from the hospital authorities on these developments.

Jain in response to a question, had told reporters on Thursday, the video did not show the “true picture of the hospital” and “breaks the morale” of healthcare workers.

On the allegation that MCD hospitals are not being used by the Delhi government, the health minister on Friday said that these hospitals are not to be used by the Delhi government.

“They have to treat the patients of COVID-19 themselves. All the central government hospitals have done so. The MCD have their own hospitals, and they can treat COVID-19 patients there. We are not taking over their hospitals. Just as the Centre, municipal corporations can start the treatment of COVID-19 patients if they have hospitals,” he said.

“Their hospitals have a lot of ICU beds. There are around 13,000 beds in the central government hospitals, we would like to request the Centre to use those beds for COVID-19 treatment,” Jain added.

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