Citing WHO data, Centre says India has ‘lowest’ 374 COVID-19 deaths per million population

New Delhi, Mar 29 (PTI) India has one of the “lowest” 374 COVID-19 deaths per million population, according to the World Health Organisation, compared to similarly affected countries like the USA, Brazil, Russia and Mexico, the government said on Tuesday.

In a written reply, Minister of State for Health Bharati Pravin Pawar told the Rajya Sabha that at times, certain reports have speculated excess deaths, that is, higher than the official number of COVID-19 fatalities reported by India. “These reports have mostly relied on unvalidated methodologies, or data sources used to derive ‘estimates’ are not reliable. In most of these studies, the results have been obtained using mathematical modelling techniques from a limited sample of small sub-population subgroups which is extrapolated to the entire country,” she said.

The minister was responding to a question on recent reports showing India having the highest number of deaths during the Covid pandemic and whether the official death toll does not match the data on the civil registration system.

“According to the data available with World Health Organisation (WHO), India has one of the lowest deaths per million (374 deaths per million population) which is much lower compared to similarly affected countries like the United States of America (2,920 deaths per million population), Brazil (3,092 deaths per million population), Russia (2,506 deaths per million population) and Mexico (2,498 deaths per million population),” she mentioned in her reply.

In the context of COVID-19 pandemic, detailed guidelines for reporting of deaths have been issued by the Union health ministry to all states and Union territories (UTs). The Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR) had on May 10, 2020 issued ‘Guidance for appropriate recording of COVID-19 related deaths in India’.

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