West Bengal admits lapses in COVID-19 data reporting, says won’t count co-morbidity deaths in coronavirus tally

5 May, 2020 | Priyanka Sharma

West Bengal National

After a report by Inter Ministerial Central Team, West Bengal has admitted that it's reporting structure of coronavirus cases and death toll was faulty.

The West Bengal government on Monday admitted faults in its COVID-19 figures reporting structure. After an Inter Ministerial Central Team raised a red flag about the mortality rate in West Bengal, Chief Secretary Rajiva Sinha said that about 11 COVID-19 related deaths have been reported in the state in the last 24 hours, which takes the total death toll to 61. The other 72 deaths, which have found mention in audit report, are co-morbidity deaths. They could have been linked to COVID-19 but the primary cause of those deaths were pre-existing health conditions.

Addressing the confusion over the death toll in West Bengal, Rajiva Sinha said that the state government is quoting the right figure. The number of co-morbidity deaths will not come to them as the hospitals have been asked not to report them. They did not report any figures in the last 3 days because their reporting structure was very complicated. They thought that they had a fool proof arrangement but they are now trying to keep the arrangements dynamic and improved so that no figures are lost in the cracks.

Chief Secretary Rajiva Sinha also said that part of the problem could have also been lapses at the end of private hospitals. It is a little difficult to get real time data from private hospital, which may have resulted in a gap in reporting. However, that problem has been solved now. Moreover, they have retrieved all the missing data so that they can give out accurate figures every day.

The total number of coronavirus cases in West Bengal, as per health ministry data, are 1259, including 218 cured/discharged/migrated and 133 deaths.