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‘Discrepancies’ in Covid death reporting: Minimum details in new reports

2 years ago

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  • Only deaths in last 24 hours to be reported henceforth

  • Epidemiology Unit upgrades reporting mechanism

  • Only giving out unaltered Health Ministry stats: DG Samaranayake

By Maheesha Mudugamuwa   In the wake of allegations levelled against the Health Ministry’s Epidemiology Unit regarding discrepancies in reporting Covid-19-related deaths, it has now upgraded the reporting mechanism to report the deaths that took place within the preceding 24-hour period, The Sunday Morning learnt.  According to Public Health Services Deputy Director General and the Health Ministry’s Communications Director Dr. Hemantha Herath, who spoke to The Sunday Morning in this regard, the said discrepancies and delays have now been rectified. However, the previous detailed releases issued by the Government Information Department have been replaced by releases containing basic information following the introduction of the new mechanism. Government Information Department Director General Mohan Samaranayake told The Sunday Morning that his department was only disseminating the information received from the Health Ministry and that they were not altering or adding any information. "The statistics issued by the Government Information Department regarding Covid-19-related deaths are the exact stats received from the Health Ministry." Sri Lanka reported that 51 deaths had occurred due to Covid-19 on 16 June. Health Services Director General Dr. Asela Gunawardena on Thursday (17) confirmed that 51 deaths had occurred on Wednesday (16). Among those who died on the 16th were 20 females and 31 males. The majority of those who died, 37 in number, were persons in the over-60-years age group. Additionally, 55 more deaths were reported for 17 June, and 54 deaths were reported for 18 June. Accordingly, the total deaths in Sri Lanka due to Covid-19, since the pandemic began early last year, had risen to 2,534 as at the time of writing. Changes were made last week concerning the issuing of the number of deaths, following concerns raised regarding the reporting of deaths that had occurred during the past few months as the deaths that took place during a smaller timeframe.  As per the Epidemiology Unit’s statistics issued on 11 June, a total of 101 deaths had been reported as the highest recorded number of deaths reported in a single day in Sri Lanka.   However, the breakdown of the statistics revealed that those deaths have been recorded during the months of February (one), April (one), May (11), and June (88). The deaths that have been recorded in June were also reported from 1 to 9 June, while between 6 June to 7 June, there had been 27 deaths on each day, as recorded by the Unit. 

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