Is the actual COVID-19 toll being concealed in Uttar Pradesh?

In a meeting on June 17, the CM was informed that 30 people had died of COVID-19 in the state on June 16. Toll was the highest ever in the state, but the figure dropped surreptitiously by the evening

Is the actual COVID-19 toll being concealed in Uttar Pradesh?
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NH Correspondent/Lucknow

Is there an attempt to conceal the deaths caused by COVID-19 in Uttar Pradesh? The question is raging in this politically sensitive state where even Congress has questioned the “No test=No corona” policy of the government. What happened last week in Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath’s COVID-19 team meeting is a clear indicator that bureaucracy is trying to suppress the death toll.

In the meeting on June 17, the CM was informed that 30 people had died of COVID-19 in UP on June 16. The toll was the highest ever in the state, but the figure dropped surreptitiously by the evening. Why this toll came down and on whose direction is a question which no one is ready to answer.

“We added some deaths in that list which were not actually COVID-19 deaths and when we scrutinized the deaths, the number was lower,” a senior official told this reporter on condition of anonymity.

Since June 17, the official toll has not crossed mid-twenties.

Following this, S.P. Goyal, Additional Chief Secretary in the CMO, wrote a stinging letter to the health department asking it to furnish exact figures of the COVID-19 patients and the mortality in a transparent manner so that a clear picture could be presented to the Chief Minister.

Goyal, in his letter sent on June 18, said that in the meeting held on June 17, wrong information was given to the CM and other members. The health department should ensure correct information is given in the meeting, he wrote.

“On June 17, we were told in the meeting that 30 people had died on June 16, but later it was revealed that the exact death was much less. The Chief Minister expressed annoyance at this discrepancy in figures. It has also been brought to light that in many cases deaths are not being updated,” Goyal said in his letter.

Is the actual COVID-19 toll being concealed in Uttar Pradesh?

He said that the Chief Minister had directed that medical colleges and district hospitals give exact information about the home district of the patient.

Following this, Additional Chief Secretary (Health) Amit Mohan Prasad has asked the Chief Medical Officers and Chief Medical Superintendents across the state to update the exact figures in the appropriate portals so that transparency could be maintained.

In his letter dated June 20, Prasad directed all the CMOs and CMS to give the exact figures about COVID-19 mortality and positivity at the appropriate portals.

“I have been told that figures are not updated regularly. Now, it will be the responsibility of the CMOs and CMS to update these figures in a transparent manner. The cases of the district should depend on the district to which the patient belongs,” the letter said.

Meanwhile, Agra district authorities have served a notice to Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra over her reported tweet

alleging that 28 COVID-19 patients had died within 48 hours of being admitted to hospital.

"In last 109 days, Agra district witnessed 1139 positive COVID-19 cases in which 79 people died," Agra District Magistrate P N Singh said.

Seeking an unconditional apology within 24 hours, the DM said that the Congress leader had given a wrong statement about the COVID-19 deaths in Agra.

Earlier, Priyanka had slammed the Yogi Adityanath government over the high number of the COVID-19 deaths in Agra.

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