‘Absolutely wrong’: Kerala and Centre spar over COVID data

Kerala Health Minister Veena George says the state has been sending data to the central government on a daily basis. The only change is that the state had stopped publishing daily bulletins

Veena George

Kerala has denied the Centre’s allegations over daily COVID data, calling them “unfortunate” and “absolutely wrong”. 

The Centre on Monday wrote to the Kerala government asking it to provide COVID data daily and said that the state’s decision to report this data after a gap of five days had skewed main COVID indicators like the number of cases and positivity rate. 

The Centre said that daily cases had seen a jump of 90 per cent because of the Kerala government’s delay in sending data.

But Kerala Health Minister Veena George said the state had been sending data to the central government on a daily basis. The only change was that the state had stopped publishing daily bulletins, she said.

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Daily and diligent reporting of data was critical to arriving at a meaningful understanding of the pandemic situation and would help not only in tracking and monitoring but also in defining strategies and plans at the Centre, state and district levels, Joint Secretary in the health ministry Lav Agarwal had said in a letter to Kerala’s Principal Secretary of Health Rajan N Khobragade.

“It has been observed that Kerala has reported its state-level COVID-19 data after a gap of five(days [since April 13). This has impacted and skewed the status of India’s key monitoring indicators like cases, deaths and positivity. India has reported a 90 per cent increase in new cases and 165 per cent increase in positivity in a single day,” Agarwal said.

“Unfortunate that a responsible person from health ministry wrote a letter to Kerala government and put it out to media for discussion,” George responded.

Kerala reported 213 COVID-19 deaths in a span of 24 hours, according to data updated at 8am on Monday.

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