Coronavirus Pandemic

One-third of Indian newspaper filled with Covid-19 obituaries

Web Report/Dubai
Filed on April 21, 2021

Many of these obituaries announced the Covid-19 victims would be remembered on a 'telephonic get-together'.

A tweet on Wednesday captured India's grim second Covid-19 wave that has hit the hospitals and creaking public healthcare infrastructure in the world's second-most populous nation like a tsunami.

The tweet cited 'Sandesh', a leading Gujarati daily, which saw 6.5 pages out of 20 in its Rajkot edition on Wednesday dedicated only to obituaries related to Covid-19 deaths.

Many of these obituaries announced the Covid-19 victims would be remembered on a "telephonic get-together" in light of the prevailing situation because of a lethal spread of the contagion.

However, the ground realities belie the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led government in the western Indian state.

'The Hindu', a leading Indian English daily, has reported that in Gujarat there are several such cases of Covid-19 patients missing from the list of those infected.

The hospital authorities have been allegedly citing other medical conditions as the primary cause of death and not the lethal viral scourge, whose second coming has been far worse than the first that had struck India since March 2020.

For example, on April 16, as per the Gujarat government's state health bulletin, the total deaths recorded due to Covid-19 were 78.

However, from seven cities in the state such as Ahmedabad, Surat, Rajkot, Vadodara, Gandhinagar, Jamnagar, and Bhavnagar, altogether 689 bodies were either cremated or buried following Covid-19 protocols on the disposal of corpses.

In Ahmedabad's 1,200-bed Covid-19-designated Civil Hospital, around 200 bodies were moved from the morgue last Friday, 'The Hindu' reported.

Similarly, on April 18, the state health bulletin mentioned 110 deaths, but officials in Ahmedabad, Rajkot, Surat, and Vadodara said the actual number is estimated at above 500, 'The Hindu' reported.

In Rajkot alone, as per local media reports, 69 deaths occurred in 24 hours till the morning of April 18.

And Sandesh’s obituary section on Wednesday morning underscored the grim ground reality.

The Vijay Rupani-led Gujarat government is having a tough time contending with two sets of data, which are grossly at odds with each other. The official data provided by the state health department has been debunked by the figures emerging from hospitals, crematoria, and burial grounds.

The Gujarat government’s official figure showed 5,615 people have died of Covid-19 to date.

However, officials maintained the accurate figure could be much higher than the government data.

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