In Uttar Pradesh's battle against the COVID 19 pandemic, a new challenge has come its way - high fatality rates in two of its western districts, Agra and Meerut.
Meerut's COVID-19 death rate is a huge 9.23 percent with 75 deaths out of a total 812 cases - highest for any district in the state and three times the overall COVID-19 death rate of Uttar Pradesh.
The state has a fatality rate of 3.10 per cent with 569 deaths in a total of 18,320 cases.
With 83 deaths out of 1,144 infections, Agra has a mortality rate of 7.25 per cent , the second highest in the state.
The death rate in these districts is also significantly higher than the national average of 3.18 per cent, according to the government data.
The death rates in Agra and Meerut are also much higher than in the national capital Delhi , where the COVID-19 case load stands at more than 60,000 cases, significantly higher than these Uttar Pradesh cities, but the death rate is about 3.56 per cent with over 2,000 fatalities.
In Meerut, over the concern of the high death rate, several senior state government officials and ministers have carried out inspections. In the last week of May, a PIL or public Interest Litigation highlighting the worsening situation in the west UP district was moved in the Allahabad high court.
"There is a lot of worry over the high fatality rate in Meerut. The chief minister has instructed us to review all the cases where deaths have happened and asked us to rectify any mistakes within a week," P Guru Prasad, the government appointed Nodal Officer for COVID 19 in Meerut told the media a week ago
The opposition has been criticising the Uttar Pradesh government and the concerned authorities in Agra, once touted as a COVID-19 containment model, for its handling of the pandemic in the district.
Earlier, a tweet by the Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra over the "Agra model" met with a notice from the district administration, which said her statement was "misleading" and asked her to post a social media clarification within 24 hours.
Ms Vadra, however, responded with more tweets questioning the Yogi Adityanath government's response to the pandemic in the district- home to the iconic Taj Mahal.