Villagers told The Indian Express that out of seven brothers, four — Kaur Singh, Ghamdoor Singh, Bant Singh and Darshan — died between May 7 and May 24 due to suspected Covid-19.

A family from Mansa’s Akkanwali village says that it lost five members to Covid-19 within around two weeks in May. Officially, however, Akkanwali has recorded only two deaths.

Villagers told The Indian Express that out of seven brothers, four — Kaur Singh, Ghamdoor Singh, Bant Singh and Darshan — died between May 7 and May 24 due to suspected Covid-19. All were admitted at hospitals due to low oxygen level, they added. Another family member and wife of the youngest brother, Karamjit Kaur, is also believed to have contracted Covid-19 and succumbed to it.

While Ghamdoor Singh and Karamjit Kaur were living in Mansa city, Kaur Singh, Beant Singh and Darshan Singh were living in Akkanwali. The names of Kaur Singh and Beant Singh figured in government data as Covid victims.

A family member said: “Our village witnessed many deaths. But no one reported. I insisted that my family must report the deaths due to Covid. That’s the reason that our village had two official deaths. Otherwise, figure would have been zero. Darshan Singh also died due to falling of oxygen level and had all Covid-19 symptoms. But his report was negative and health department declined to count him in Covid-19 list.”

Sarabjit Kaur, auxiliary nurse midwife (ANM), said, “Officially we have only two Covid deaths. Only one family reported the deaths of their two members. Otherwise, we have no data of any other death.”

Congress sarpanch of the village, Gobinder Singh, said, “There are only two Covid-19 deaths in our village. I don’t know about other deaths.”

Amarjit Singh, son of former Akali Sarpanch Gulab Singh said, “There would be around 10 Covid deaths in village.”

He then counted seven individuals that he claimed had died due to Covid-19. In the list were a 95-year-old and his daughter-in-law, who belonged to Amarjit’s family.

Another villager said, “First Covid-19 death in village was of a 95-year-old. Family was rich and they wanted to celebrate the death of their elder, who had lived a good life. So, they somehow brought the body back to home against Covid-19 norms and did all the customs according to Punjabi tradition. After few days, daughter-in-law of the 95-year-old also died of Covid-19. After that there were many deaths in village. But hardly any death was reported.”

In Jhander village in Tarn Taran district at least two Covid-19 deaths were suspected in the last week of May. These deaths, however, are not part of official Covid-19 death data of district.

It makes Jhander join the list of at least half of the 12,729 villages in Punjab, where official Covid-19 death rate remained zero since Covid-19 outbreak.

Dilbag Singh of Jahnder was cremated with Covid-19 protocol on May 28.

Another woman from Jhander, Harjinder Kaur, died on May 25 as her oxygen level couldn’t improve. She was diagnosed with Pneumonia. However, health department has no details of both deaths.

“My mother Harjinder Kaur had breathing problems. We first took our mother to a private hospital where they did X-ray and diagnosed pneumonia. They told us that it was Covid-19. Her oxygen saturation was 65. We took her to another hospital but they also couldn’t do much. We brought my mother back home after spending more than 1.5 lakh in private hospitals. We provided her oxygen at home. She died of Covid-19 on May 25,” said her son, Kuldeep Singh.

“There is no doubt that my brother-in-law Dilbagh Singh had Covid-19. We also used to receive call from DC office after he was tested positive. He also had old liver infection. His health worsened due to Covid-19. He died at Guru Nanak Dev Hospital, Amritsar and health department team came with his dead body directly to the cremation ground of our village. He was cremated with Covid-19 protocol on May 28,” said Jaswant Singh.

“Jhander village has zero death rate. No death has been reported in Jhander village since Covid-19 outbreak,” said ANM, Sarabjit Kaur, who is ground worker and remains closely in touch with any death in village.

Jhander is not the only village with zero death rate in Tarn Taran.

Till mid-June, Tarn Taran registered total 350 Covid-19 deaths and 279 of these deaths were registered in the rural areas. More than half of the villages in Tarn Taran registered no Covid-19 deaths.

In Amritsar also, death rate in villages remained considerably low. The district has 750 villages and it had registered 446 deaths in rural areas against 940 in the urban areas of district till mid-June. More than 304 villages registered no death. This when Amritsar has remained one of the most affected districts due to Covid-19 in state.

Health authorities had said that second wave of Covid-19 was more deadly in Punjab’s 12,729 villages.

Punjab has 12729 villages and state has registered total 15698 deaths so far by June 15.

Till May 4, state had registered 9483 deaths. Out of these 3966 deaths were registered in the Rural areas against 5517 deaths in Urban areas of state.

On May 25, toll of Covid-19 deaths in urban and rural areas of Punjab were 9646 and 4029 respectively. Total 15698 deaths were reported till June 17 in State. However, still it is very clear from data that more than half of the villages in Punjab remained untouched from official Covid-19 deaths.

When asked if more than 50 per cent villages not registering any Covid death was a success story or there was some problem in data collection method, Rajesh Bhaskar, state Covid-19 nodal officer, said, “If anyone is tested positive for Covid-19, patient automatically comes on our record. We track cases and record deaths, either it happens in home isolation or at Hospital.”

Over uncounted Covid-19 deaths in Jhander, he added, “If there is any case then bring it to our notice and we would get it included in the toll. There is very less chance that we would miss such a death. Because our teams follow home isolation and report the deaths as it happens. We have recorded such deaths in home isolation in which patient died before his report comes out positive. So our tracking system is very good.”

“There is no method to count suspected Covid-19 death if patient was not tested for Covid-19. It is very difficult to ascertain such a death, if there is any,” said Bhaskar.

Source: Read Full Article