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Covid19 death controversy: Delhi govt seeks death data from funeral homes

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The Delhi government will carry out another audit and verification of Covid19 deaths and has sought data of funerals from the north and south municipal corporations. The move comes amid a controversy over the actual Covid19 deaths in Delhi.

The government in a letter to the municipal commissioners of the two civic bodies has asked that data be provided about the Covid19 death registered and also asked for other documents such as lab reports and doctor certificates with entries till the May 17.

The data from Nighambodh Ghat, Punjabi Bagh and the ITO Kotla Graveyard will be used for the verification process. Media quoted sources as saying that details of 500 such deaths have been provided so far.

A controversy erupted over the Delhi government’s daily health bulletin numbers on Covid-19 on May 11 when it stated that the death due to the disease was 73. But the deaths from burial grounds and crematoriums being reported were beyond 300 on the same day. As on May 19, Delhi’s death toll stands at 166.

The fact that the Delhi government has constantly changed the format of its Covid19 bulletins has not helped either. On May 14, it did away with the column of death at hospitals treating Covid19 patients, then changed the definition of what qualified as Covid19 death and then even did away with the column on daily new cases.