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Gehlot directs officials to conduct audit of COVID-19 deaths

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Jaipur, May 26: Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot on Tuesday said his government is not hiding the number of COVID-19 deaths and directed officials to conduct an audit of coronavirus fatalities in the state so that the reality is known.

His remarks came hours after BJP national spokesperson and Jaipur Rural MP Colonel (retd) Rajyavardhan Rathore alleged that the Rajasthan government is under-reporting COVID-19 deaths.

Gehlot directs officials to conduct audit of COVID-19 deaths

He claimed while government data showed that 3,900 COVID-19 deaths were reported in Rajasthan from April 1 to May 20, media reports state that there were more than 14,400 deaths during the period.

Speaking at a meeting held to review the COVID-19 situation in the state, Gehlot said there is no tradition of hiding the number of deaths in Rajasthan. The state government is worried about the lives of the people, not the figures.

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He asked officials to conduct an audit of Covid deaths in the state so that the reality of Covid and non-Covid deaths is known and a decision regarding the social security of families of coronavirus victims' can be taken.

According to an official report, Rajasthan's COVID-19 death toll climbed to 7,911 on Tuesday with 105 more fatalities.

The chief minister directed officials of the medical and health department to formulate an effective strategy to deal with a potential third wave of COVID-19.

Medical experts are expressing apprehension that children will be more affected in the third wave. In such a situation, the government should prepare for it by studying the measures taken by other countries and states, he said.

Gehlot also asked the officials to take strict action against private hospitals and labs if they are found charging prices higher than those fixed by the state government for the treatment and testing of COVID-19 patients.

He noted that the government has made arrangements for free-of-cost transportation of Covid patients' bodies and their funerals.

On COVID-19 vaccination, Gehlot said efforts should be made at all levels, including coordination with the central government, to ensure the availability of vaccines for inoculation of the young population of the state.

He said complete vaccination could help in preventing the third wave of the pandemic.

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Chief Secretary Niranjan Arya informed that an adequate supply of oxygen is available in the state. The number of oxygen plants sanctioned by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) in the state has now increased to 25.

As of Tuesday, Rajasthan's COVID-19 caseload stands at 9,23,860, according to official data.

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