Kerala to re-examine COVID-19 death toll

Representational image. PTI

Thiruvananthapuram: The state government has decided to re-examine COVID-19 death toll following widespread complaints of authorities hiding the real toll.

The cause of several deaths was pending confirmation in the state despite hospital certification that they were caused by Covid. Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has ordered an investigation to confirm the grounds of such deaths.

The Opposition had demanded a correction in the death toll in the previous Assembly session.

A Chief Minister-chaired review meeting held on June 7 had asked the Chief Secretary to submit recommendations to address the discrepancies in the death toll. The decision to re-examine the death toll was made based on the recommendations.

The government might assign an expert committee to look into cases where the cause of death is yet to be confirmed.

With the 206 deaths reported on Sunday, Kerala’s official COVID-19 death toll stood at 11,181. Ernakulam had reported the state’s first COVID-19 casualty, a 69-year-old man, on March 28, 2020.

Guidelines soon

Meanwhile, the departments of information technology and health have jointly developed a software to publish district-wise deaths based on the reports of the doctors concerned. Moves are also afoot to prepare a set of guidelines to confirm deaths due to COVID-19.

A government-appointed expert committee had warned the government against fudging the death toll last August. The government, however, continued adding deaths to the COVID toll after examining them at the state level.

Manorama had published the committee’s report that was submitted to the government.

Tamil Nadu and Bihar re-examine deaths

The High Court of Madras had ordered the Tamil Nadu government to form an expert panel to study the deaths in that State. The order was issued following complaints of Tamil Nadu fudging the toll.

A relook into the deaths in Bihar put the toll last week at 9,429, up from the 5,424 the government of that state had been claiming.

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