The Covid-19 death tally of Kerala is set to rise significantly after the CPM-led government admitted in the floor of the state assembly that it may have underreported over 7,000 virus-related deaths.
Kerala Health Minister Veena George informed the Assembly on Friday (Oct 8) that over 7,000 Covid deaths were found to be not included in the state's Covid death tally. She claimed that it was mainly attributable to technical lapses like missing vita information regarding the patient.
George also maintained that there was no deliberate attempt to exclude the deaths from the list. The minister had announced that the department would publish the updated list in three days in the last assembly session.
The health minister's admission came amid demand by Congress-led opposition for an adjournment motion to discuss the 'under-reporting' of Covid deaths and the 'weak' pandemic strategy by the Pinarayi Vijayan-led government.
Accusing Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan of hiding the deaths caused to COVID-19, Congress-led opposition staged a walkout from the state assembly.
“The government was reluctant to release the death toll before June 16. It also violated the ICMR guideline that deaths of people, suffering from deadly diseases like cancer and who died due to coronavirus infection, should be considered as COVID-19 death,” said leader of opposition V.D Satheesan.
Opposition parties later announced that they will be boycotting the assembly to protest against denial of the adjournment motion.
Rejecting the opposition allegation, George said "The process of registration was done based on the guidelines of ICMR. The department took the initiative to include the excluded cases in the list,”
The hospitals started uploading the COVID-19 deaths online in June this year and these are deaths that have not been documented and added to the official death list, she later told reporters.
Kerala had so far officially reported a total deaths of 25,952 with a case fatality rate of 0.54 per cent.
After recent Supreme Court verdict to provide compensation of Rs 50,000 to families of victims who died of Covid, the state government has introduced an online service to avail Covid death certificates.