Monday, 30th October 2017

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Delhi civic bodies reveal more virus deaths

Toll flies in the face of Kejriwal govt claims

By Furquan Ameen in New Delhi
  • Published 22.05.20, 9:32 PM
  • Updated 23.05.20, 11:43 AM
  • 3 mins read
  •  
Arvind Kejriwal (File photo)

Delhi’s municipal corporations said on Friday that as many as 745 people have died of Covid-19 in the national capital as of May 21, the toll more than three times the number claimed by the Arvind Kejriwal-led government.

According to Friday’s state health department, only 208 people have died due to Covid, the number in line with chief minister Kejriwal’s contention that though the number of Covid-19 cases in Delhi was high, deaths were few.

“Unfortunately, 160 people have lost their lives due to the coronavirus, but if we compare the statistics to other states in India and abroad, the death rate is quite low,” Kejriwal said in a televised public address recently.

The number of funerals organised by municipal employees at three spots in the capital – the cremation grounds at Nigambodh Ghat and Punjabi Bagh and the burial place at ITO Dilli Gate – was 721.

The Telegraph Online had last week reported claims on the death toll made by the corporations which included an undeclared number of suspected cases. The corporations have come back with a break-up of both confirmed and suspected Covid-19 cases to back their claim.

Of the total 745 funerals conducted under the Covid-19 protocol, 162 bodies carried a suspected coronavirus tag. This means 583 confirmed Covid-19 individuals were either cremated or buried under the protocol.

“Delhi is not doing good. The government is trying to hide the numbers everywhere, be it the number of cases or deaths because of the virus,” said Bhupendra Gupta, the South Delhi Municipal Corporation’s standing committee chairman.

Gupta said this was an attempt to show that Delhi had been doing better than Mumbai, Indore or Ahmedabad. If the numbers claimed were correct, Delhi will be third after Maharashtra and Gujarat in terms of the death toll. 

“They’ve (Delhi government) also said that FIRs will be lodged against those who spread rumours or create panic. If you suspect my data and if I’m creating panic, file an FIR and write a letter to the commission,” added Gupta.

Since last week, the BJP-run civic corporations of Delhi have been accusing the AAP-led Delhi government of under-reporting the deaths of Covid-19 patients in the city.

The Delhi government has maintained silence since the statement on May 10 by state health minister Satyendar Jain blaming hospitals for the discrepancy. And since May 14, the health department had stopped sharing number of daily deaths occurring in the city and instead shared a cumulative data which included past cases.

Multiple hospitals had since rejected the minister’s blame saying death summaries of Covid-19 patients are being shared daily with the death audit committee (DAC) appointed by the government.

In a letter written to municipal commissioners on May 16, health secretary Padmini Singla had requested them to submit proofs of Covid-related deaths with supporting documents like lab reports and doctors’ certificate. In response, the corporations had sent back the details of cremations and burials until May 16.

“We responded to the health secretary’s letter. The municipal corporations can’t create data out of thin air. The cases that come to our shamshan ghat or kabristan come with clear Covid-positive or suspected tags. Why would the hospitals send the bodies to Covid-designated funeral grounds and cremated as per Covid-19 procedures?” said Jai Prakash, standing committee chairperson of the North Delhi Municipal Corporation.

Cremations and burials in Delhi

South Delhi Municipal Corporation: 394

  • Punjabi Bagh crematorium: 249 confirmed cases (17 suspected)
  • ITO Dilli Gate graveyard: 144 confirmed cases (68 suspected)
  • Madanpur Khadar graveyard: 1 confirmed case

North Delhi Municipal Corporation: 339

  • Nigambodh ghat crematorium: 328 confirmed cases (77 suspected)
  • Mangolpuri Musilm graveyard 10 confirmed cases (zero suspected)
  • Mangolpuri Christian graveyard: 1 confirmed case

East Delhi Municipal Corporation: 12

  • Buland Masjid graveyard: 12 confirmed cases (zero suspected)

Funerals conducted under Covid-19 guidelines in the past five days at Delhi’s major funeral grounds

May 17

  • Nigambodh ghat: 13
  • Punjabi Bagh crematorium: 16
  • ITO Dilli Gate burial ground: 4

May 18

  • Nigambodh ghat: 9
  • Punjabi Bagh crematorium: 11
  • ITO Dilli Gate burial ground: 2

May 19

  • Nigambodh ghat: 15
  • Punjabi Bagh crematorium: 14
  • ITO Dilli Gate burial ground: 3

May 20

  • Nigambodh ghat: 13
  • Punjabi Bagh crematorium: 16
  • ITO Dilli Gate burial ground: 3

May 21

  • Nigambodh ghat: 14
  • Punjabi Bagh crematorium: 15
  • ITO Dilli Gate burial ground: 3