Bihar health minister Mangal Pandey on Thursday admitted that the statstics on Covid-19 deaths were under-reported earlier and now after getting reports from the district magistrates, there has been a massive jump of 73 per cent in corona deaths. Patna topped the list with 1,070 deaths.
Pandey said here, "Earlier, deaths reported from the government hospitals were recorded. On the orders of the Patna High Court, we started audit of Corona cases and in the last two days, the figure rose to 9,429 against 5,424 till June 8.”
Pandey said the survey was conducted in last 15 days by the government agencies.
“People who lost their relatives and friends in the second wave were in mourning and did not report deaths earlier. Now, they have started reporting Corona deaths, hence the figure rose to over 9,000. People who had tested positive but died in their homes have been included in the revised list,” he said.
In the second wave of Covid, over 8,000 people died. State government has asked the DMs to collect figures and information from the relatives, who lost their Covid patients under treatment in their homes. The massive discrepancies in death figures forced the minister to announce an inquiry into the major lapse and promised action would be taken against the guilty officers soon. Information is being collected from the rural areas too, he assured.
In Patna town, there is under reporting as only 8 out of 26 private hospitals where Corona patients were treated gave information about deaths. There is no information from the Covid dedicated private hospitals. In the three crematoriums in Patna - Bans Ghat, Gulbi Ghat and Khajekalan on the banks of Ganga, Patna Municipal Corporation staff had allowed cremation with Covid protocols for 1,548 bodies, but district administration had reported only 446 deaths last month. Even the numbers of those dying in Covid wards were unreported, according to the audit report conducted by the health department and released on Wednesday.
Audit was done on the orders of Patna High Court, which is monitoring the Covid management on daily basis and opened a special cell in the court to receive complaints from the common man. Patna High Court had commented, "We are aghast. What could be the situation in other parts of the state."
Court had slammed the government on discrepancies in the figures supplied by two senior officers in their affidavits on the deaths in Buxar district. While divisional commissioner in his affidavit had submitted 790 people were cremated in one week at Charitravan Ghat in Buxar with Covid protocols, chief secretary in his affidavit claimed only 70 cremations between May 5 and 14. High Court was hearing a petition on floating bodies in the Ganga.
Leader of opposition Tejaswhi Prasad Yadav, in a tweet, said, "Still government is hiding death figures, it is 20 times more than reported so far". Akhilesh Prasad Singh claimed over one lakh people have died of Covid in Bihar. There is no report from the villages in government records.
According to the health department spokesman"basis of corona deaths reporting was from the daily health bulletin from medical college hospitals,civil surgeons."Total number of deaths reported on official web site on June 7 was 5424 and on June 8,it rose to 9375.".It is still far lower than the bodies cremated at different cremation grounds,some opened by DMs as contigency measure.
Meanwhile, chief minister Nitish Kumar visited different parts of the state capital in his SUV regretted majority of the people were still not using Masks, inviting risks.