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Gujarat Hiding Real COVID Figures, Shows a State Daily’s Report

Gujarati paper Divya Bhaskar reported that 1.23 lakh death certificates were issued in 71 days.

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COVID-19 victims being cremated. Image used for representational purposes. 
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A Gujarati daily, Divya Bhaskar put out a scathing front page report on Friday, 14 May, exposing Gujarat’s alleged underreporting of COVID deaths. The data collected has been based on disclosures by municipal authorities in 33 districts and eight major cities, as per the newspaper.

The paper reported that 1.23 lakh death certificates were issued in 71 days, between 1 March and 10 May 2021, in stark contrast to the state’s official records, which only indicated 4,218 deaths.

The report, translated into English by journalist Deepak Patel on Twitter, stated that the Gujarat government “hid” the numbers, and has been exposed by its own departments.

Last year, the state issued 58,000 death certificates during the same time period, which means, that this year, it has issued 65,085 more death certificates, bringing the total to 1.23 lakh.

‘Official Figures Don’t Add Up’

Patel, in his translation of the report highlighted district-wise figures issued in the period between 1 March and 10 May. For instance, Ahmedabad issued 13,593 death certificates in the time frame, whilst the official COVID death toll is at just 2,126.

Amreli district stated 36 deaths officially, whereas 5,449 death certificates were issued this year in the 71-day time frame. Rajkot similarly had only 288 deaths listed officially, whereas 10,878 death certificates have been issued during the 71-day period.

“Surat city issued 2,769 death certificates in the 71-day period last year. It issued 8,851 death certificates in the same time period this year. Note: Gujarat government’s data says 1,074 people died of Covid in Surat city in the 71-day period this year.”
Patel’s tweet translating Divya Bhaskar’s report

Vadodara listed 189 deaths officially, however, the state issued 7,722 death certificates. Patel also cited similar figures for other districts in the state.

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‘Co-Morbidities Not Registered as COVID Deaths’

Dr Chandresh Jardosh, the outgoing president of the Indian Medical Association’s Gujarat chapter told Hindustan Times that the mismatch is because the state department does not include patients with co-morbidities in the official statistics. If they get COVID, then that becomes incidental.

Opposition Demands an Inquiry

The Congress has demanded an inquiry into the matter on Friday. Opposition leader Paresh Dhanani, as per HT, demanded an investigation into the under-reporting of cases and said, “The state government should own up responsibility for the high number of deaths and initiate action against officials who have fudged data”.

The report added that Congress spokesperson Manish Doshi asked for criminal action against those responsible.

Gujarat on Friday reported 9,995 cases, a dip in daily cases, and officially reported 104 deaths due to COVID. Chief Minister Vijay Rupani is to visit Palanpur and Bhavnagar district on Saturday along with a state COVID core committee group.

(With inputs from HT)

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