New Delhi: The Centre on Saturday (June 12, 2021) responded to a report which claimed that India has suffered five to seven times 'excess deaths' than the official number of COVID-19 fatalities. The Centre said that the article is 'without any basis' and 'seems to be misinformed'.
"The unsound analysis of the said article is based on extrapolation of data without any epidemiological evidence," the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare said in a press statement.
It also said that the studies which are used by the magazine as an estimate of excess mortality are not 'validated tools' for determining the mortality rate of any country or region.
"It's a well-known fact that there shall always be a difference in mortality recorded during a profound and prolonged public health crisis such as COVID pandemic and well-conducted research studies on excess mortalities, usually done after the event when data on mortalities are available from reliable sources," the Centre said.
The statement also read that the Union Government has been transparent in its approach to COVID data management.
"As early as May 2020, to avoid inconsistency in the number of deaths being reported, Indian Council of Medical Research has issued 'Guidance for appropriate recording of COVID-19 related deaths in India' for correct recording of all deaths as per ICD-10 codes recommended by WHO for mortality coding," it said.
It further added that the States and UTs have been urged through formal communications, multiple video conferences and through the deployment of Central teams for correct recording of deaths in accordance with laid down guidelines.
The Union Health Ministry said that it has also regularly emphasized the need for a robust reporting mechanism for monitoring district wise cases and deaths on a daily basis.
"States consistently reporting a lower number of daily deaths were told to re-check their data," it stated.
Earlier on Friday, the Centre has also given a clarification on a sudden hike in the number of daily deaths on June 10.
"This spike in deaths was on account of 3971 deaths reported by Bihar on that date is on account of reconciliation done by the State," it had said.
India, notably, has so far recorded a total of 2.93 crore coronavirus cases, of which, more than 3.6 lakh people have succumbed to the virus.