The number of coronavirus deaths in Chennai may have gone up by 200 overnight, after it emerged that deaths in the city's municipal records were not all reported to the state government.
The health department has set up a nine-member COVID Death Reconciliation Committee panel to sort out a huge mismatch in the tally.
At least 200 more deaths registered in Chennai Corporation records, not reported to the authorities, could nearly double the city's COVID death tally of 279.
Many private and a few government hospitals, health officials say, have not duly informed COVID deaths to the Health Department. Although these details are usually sent over a period, in the pandemic crisis, the reporting should have been done on a daily basis, said the officials.
"Yes. We have constituted the committee for reconciliation of death figures," Selva Vinayagam, Director of Public Health, told NDTV. He did not give the exact numbers they are looking to reconcile.
Chennai has 27,398 coronavirus cases, which is 70 per cent of the state's tally of 38,716. According to the health department statistics, of the 349 virus deaths in Tamil Nadu, 279 are from Chennai alone.
The Tamil Nadu government has been citing a low mortality rate of less than 1 per cent -- lowest in the country. But the latest developments have led to allegations that deaths in Chennai, Tamil Nadu's virus hotspot, were deliberately underreported to project a low mortality rate of 0.88 per cent.
Chief Minister E Palaniswami denied the charge. "There is no gain for the government by hiding information. We are transparent. Deaths in government hospitals have been accounted for. About deaths in private hospitals we report on the basis of information we get," he told reporters.