MP has officially reported a total of 363,352 COVID-19 cases and 4,312 deaths (FIle Image of Madhya Pradesh CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan)
Mismatched numbers of reported deaths and funerals conducted with COVID-19 protocols have led to fears that Madhya Pradesh is under-reporting deaths due to the virus.
Two officials at crematoriums in Bhopal said funerals were conducted for 84 bodies with COVID-19 protocols on April 13. This despite the Madhya Pradesh Health Department reporting only five deaths in the city and 40 across the state for the day, the Hindustan Times reported.
The state has, however, denied the allegations, and health minister Prabhuram Chaudhary stated: “there is no under reporting of cases and death,” he added that they are aware about the large number of cremations and are “looking into the matter”.
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Chaudhary also said he has asked the Bhopal district administration for a report on the deaths and that his department will “issue a clarification in a few days”.
According to the HT report, nine bodies were buried at the Jahangirabad graveyard with COVID-19 protocols on April 13, while another 47 were cremated at the Bhadbhada Vishram Ghat and 28 cremated at Subhash Nagar.
In fact, the nine bodies that came in at Jahangirabad is the “highest number of bodies buried in recent years”, according to graveyard in-charge Rehan Golden, who added that they are now digging burial pits in advance.
Mamtesh Sharma, an employee of Bhadbhada Vishram Ghat told the paper the situation is “so bad, crematoriums are facing a shortage of timber as about 400-450 quintal wood is being consumed daily...”
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Subhash Nagar crematorium staffer Pradeep Kannojiya pointed out that while he has been cremating COVID infected bodies since 2020 “the pile up of bodies has been unprecedented over the past week.”
He added: “People have to wait for hours for cremation. The relatives are waiting with ambulances outside the ground for cremation. This is endemic now.”
Bhopal district collector Avinash Lavaniya and chief medical health officer Prabhakar Tiwari did not respond to queries, the report said.
The report noted that it is unclear if the bodies were tested COVID-19 positive as per the Indian Institute of Medical Research’s (ICMR) guidelines issued in 2020.
Notably, Madhya Pradesh is among the 12 states and UTs in India where COVID-19 cases in the second wave have surpassed the first wave peak – the current daily average is 2.6 times what it was during the peak in 2020.
Experts told the paper that deaths have also increased as people are experiencing the symptoms late and reach the hospital late, besides an “overburdened health infrastructure has created panic”.
MP has officially reported a total of 363,352 COVID-19 cases and 4,312 deaths.Follow our full COVID-19 coverage here