Health Minister Veena George
Thiruvananthapuram: The Kerala Government may update the Covid death list following the Centre’s decision to provide Rs 50,000 ex-gratia assistance to families of COVID victims. Deaths occurring within 30 days from the date of testing of Covid or from the date of being clinically tested, the government clarified. The present Covid deaths and fatalities in future also will be eligible.
The Centre has been ordered to provide funds from the Chief Minister's Distress Relief Fund. 24,191 is the death toll in Kerala and in the backdrop of the ex-gratia assistance being announced, a hike in the number of deaths and complaints regarding this are expected.
A group of health workers point out that the figures may vary from 10,000 to 15,000 more than the published list by the government. Health officials do not agree with this figure. Earlier, RTI documents had revealed that there was a difference of 7316 deaths between the figures of the Health Department and the figures compiled by the Information Kerala Mission.
The government had decided to re-examine the cause of death when allegations surfaced that the state government was hiding the death toll. The health department has not yet released the information after examining the complaints.
Health Minister Veena George said that the ex-gratia assistance will not be denied to the eligible. As per the new guidelines, the health ministry itself will look into the figures and complaints that surfaced.
Opposition leader VD Satheesan stated that the amount of ex-gratia assistance should be increased from Rs 50,000 to Rs 5 to Rs10 lakhs. The government has not revealed about 10000 deaths. If the real figures are not given, the UDF will initiate a fact-finding inquiry and the information will be released.