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5 of Punjab Family Die Due to Covid But Records Show 2 Dead in Village, Residents Claim Toll Underreported

A man stands next to the body of his wife, who died due to breathing, in a hospital in Bijnor. (For Representation)

A man stands next to the body of his wife, who died due to breathing, in a hospital in Bijnor. (For Representation)

The son of former Akali Sarpanch Gulab Singh said that there would have been around 10 Covid deaths in the Pubjab village.

A family in Mansa’s Akkanwali village in Punjab says that they lost five members of Coronavirus in two weeks in May. But the official records show that Akkanwali village recorded only two deaths.

The villagers said that four out of seven brothers- Kaur Singh, Ghamdoor Singh, Bant Singh and Darshan, died between May 7-24, suspected of Covid-19 and were admitted to hospital due to the low oxygen supply. Another family member, the wife of the younger brother also suspected to have Covid-19 and died of it, a report in The Indian Express said.

The report said that while Ghamdoor Singh and Karamjit Kaur were living in Mansa city, Kaur Singh, Beant Singh and Darshan Singh were living in Akkanwali. But only the names of Kaur Singh and Beant Singh figured in the government data as Covid victims.

A family member said that the village, Akkanwali, has witnessed many deaths, but they weren’t reported. He said that he insisted that the deaths due to Covid-19 must be reported, which is why the village has two official deaths. He adds that otherwise the deaths in the village would have been zero.

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“Darshan Singh also died due to falling of oxygen level and had all Covid-19 symptoms. But his report was negative and health department declined to count him in Covid-19 list,” the family member said.

Sarabjit Kaur, auxiliary nurse midwife (ANM), said that they have registered only two Covid deaths officials. She adds that only one family reported the deaths of the two members or there would have been no data of any other death.

The Congress sarpanch of the village, Gobinder Singh, reportedly said, “There are only two Covid-19 deaths in our village. I don’t know about other deaths.” Whereas, the son of former Akali Sarpanch Gulab Singh said that there would be around 10 Covid deaths in village.

The report added that in Jhander village in Tarn Taran district at least two Covid-19 deaths were suspected in the last week of May. However, these deaths are not part of official death data of district.

Jhander village is among the list of at least half of the 12,729 villages in Punjab, where official Covid-19 death rate remained zero since the Coronavirus outbreak.

In Jahnder, Dilbag Singh was cremated with Covid-19 protocol on May 28. Another woman, Harjinder Kaur, died on May 25 as her oxygen level couldn’t improve and was diagnosed with Pneumonia. However, health department has no details of both deaths.

Health authorities say that second wave of the pandemic was more deadly in the 12,729 villages in Punjab.

However, officials deny the underreporting of the Covid deaths in the villages. “If anyone is tested positive for Covid-19, patient automatically comes on our record. We track cases and record deaths, either it happens in home isolation or at Hospital,” Rajesh Bhaskar, state Covid-19 nodal officer, said.

He added that if there is any case then it should be brought to notice and the officials would get it included in the toll. “There is very less chance that we would miss such a death,” he said.

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first published:July 18, 2021, 09:24 IST