Rajasthan to audit Covid deaths after allegations of under reporting

Express News Service
JAIPUR:  The Rajasthan government has ordered an audit of Covid fatalities in the state in a bid to reveal the truth about Covid and non-Covid deaths. Sources said the government decision came following media reports that the number of Covid deaths is much higher than the official figure. State Health Minister Raghu Sharma said there was no question of hiding data.

According to the Rajasthan Health Department, since March 2020, there have been 7,911 Covid deaths in the state. This year April and May recorded the highest number of 5,093 deaths. A total of 2,818 deaths occurred in the preceding 13 months. These include a total of 1,632 deaths in the four months of August, September, October, November 2020 and 1,186 deaths in nine months.

But a mismatch persists between government figures and others recorded or reported by other bodies. The difference is sought to be explained on the basis of Corona patients who died while undergoing treatment at home and in rural areas where government records are either not kept or the detailing is sketchy. In Rajasthan, the UK strain of Covid which spreads rapidly is proving devastating in rural areas.

Health officials confirm that nearly 40% of new cases and 40% of deaths in the state are now being recorded in villages. In Nagaur district, rural areas have seen a large number of casualties over the past fortnight. In particular, three villages with population ranging between five and 12 thousand have seen a string of deaths.

Badu village saw 19 deaths, Janjeela 17 while Harnawa saw 13 fatalities in a span of a fortnight. Of the total deaths, 18 were confirmed as Covid fatalities while the rest are seen as caused by breathing troubles. The government says a survey is necessary for the social security scheme as well. The state has announced a Social Security Policy on the death of an earning member of a family from Covid-19. 

Full transparency: CMCM Ashok Gehlot said his government is fighting the Covid battle with full transparency. The survey will be conducted at a large scale as the second wave has claimed more lives in villages.