NEW DELHI: Confusion prevailed over the death tally in the national capital as hospital authorities and the Delhi government appeared to be on different pages when it came to the numbers.
According to the Delhi government's health bulletin, only 68 patients have succumbed to the novel coronavirus. However, authorities from hospitals insist the numbers are comparatively more.
As per the bulletin, 26 patients have died so far at the Ram Manohar Lohia hospital, a centrally operated hospital which is also one of the nodal hospitals for COVID-19. Hospital sources insist the really tally here is 52.
When contacted Dr Minakshi Bharadwaj, the Medical Superintendent of the hospital who appeared to be a bit agitated by the questioning insisted her hospital's data was right.
"It is difficult for me to repeat the same figures and facts to every media house. But yes, the figures of RML shown by the Delhi government is not correct. The matter has been conveyed over time to the state authorities and I have no idea who is publishing the daily health bulletin that is showing different figures," Dr Bharadwaj said.
When asked if the Delhi officials had cross-checked with RML, the Medical Superintendent said they haven't yet.
The New Indian Express tried to reach out to the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) too but the calls went unanswered.
Sources at the Lok Nayak Hospital, a designated COVID-19 hospital under the state government, also said that the death toll is much higher than is being reflected in the bulletin. While the state government data shows only five deaths, hospital sources claim it is 47. Calls were made to the Medical Director to confirm this, but there was no response.
"The administration is checking the bulletin daily. Even if they are sending correct data, why didn't they object to this alleged fudging by the government before," said a source.
Dr Nutan Mundeja, DGHS, Delhi Health Department, could not be reached for comments.
The state bulletin issued on Saturday had figures from data collected between 4pm till the midnight of May 8. Figures will be released on mornings from Sunday.
Health Minister Satyendar Jain, for his part, asserted that there is no reason to hide anything and not a single case will go unaccounted for in the national capital.
"Hospitals have not sent detailed death reports of patients which have information such as reason of death, name, age and so on. It is on the basis of this that the COVID-19 health bulletin is updated. Hospitals have been told to send the death reports and summaries at the earliest so that the data can be promptly added to the bulletin," Jain added.
BJP Delhi head and MP Manoj Tiwari was among those who was not convinced. He pointed that 86 bodies have been buried by the Delhi government at the cemetery for coronavirus victims near ITO but the toll only shows 68.