The war of words over fudging of Covid deaths figures in Kerala intensified on Friday with the Congress blasting the ruling Left Pinarayi Vijayan government of having done so, to project the state as one which has fought the pandemic well.
The war of words intensified early this week after the Supreme Court intervened and asked the Centre to ensure that compensation be provided to the people who passed away due to Covid.
Since the pandemic surfaced, so far Kerala has recorded 13,359 Covid deaths. The Congress-led opposition has been disputing the numbers claiming that they have been grossly understated.
Leader of Opposition V.D. Satheesan said, “We demand that if a proper scrutiny of the deaths due to Covid is jointly conducted by the health and the Local Self Government departments, in a matter of 10 days one can find the actual number.
“We have been pointing to this lacunae of accounting of the Covid deaths right from day one when deaths started to occur. This is grave injustice to the people and the government should come clean on this,” said Satheesan.
State Congress president K.Sudhakaran said the Vijayan government was playing a deadly game to tamper with the Covid death figures to the minimum.
“We have been raising this for long and with the apex court judgement on this topic, this is a slap on the face of the Vijayan government. Vijayan should stop laying to the gallery by projecting what Kerala was doing good to fight Covid and should understand the troubles and travails of the people who are in dire straits and ensure a proper documentation of the Covid deaths immediately,” said Sudhakaran.
But speaking to the media here on Saturday, State Health Minister Veena George, a first time Minister and a second-term egislator denied any wrongdoing.
“We have only followed the guidelines laid down by the WHO/ICMR and we have done nothing out of that procedure. If people have any complaints about this, they can register a complaint through the e-mail and it will be looked into. The government will stand with the people and will do nothing which will be against them,” said George and added people will not be made to run from pillar to post for this.
“We have no issues to come out with a list of people who have died due to Covid,” added George.
The WHO guidelines states that a death due to Covid is defined for surveillance purposes as a death resulting from a clinically compatible illness, in a probable or confirmed Covid case, unless there is a clear alternative cause of death that cannot be related to Covid disease (e.g. trauma).
There should be no period of complete recovery from Covid between illness and death. A death due to Covid may not be attributed to another disease (e.g. cancer) and should be counted independently of pre-existing conditions that are suspected of triggering a severe course of Covid.