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Tuesday, June 15, 2021

Covid-19 death rate spike in Gurdaspur rural alarms officials

While the death rate in urban Gurdaspur has remained at 2.3 per cent in the last one week, it has shot up to 5.2 per cent in rural Gurdaspur.

Written by Kamaldeep Singh Brar | Amritsar |
Updated: May 7, 2021 8:48:17 am
Policemen stop commuters for violating curfew norms in Amritsar. (PTI)

The Covid-19 death rate in rural areas of Gurdaspur is more than double that of the urban pockets, data released by the district administration has revealed. This, however, has failed to set any alarm bells ringing in the villages, some of which are witnessing multiple cremations in a day of both Covid-19 patients and of suspected cases.

Dr Vijay, Covid-19 Nodal officer in Gurdaspur, stated that death rate in rural areas of the district has crossed 5 per cent in the last seven days, even as the death rate in urban areas hovers a little above the 2 per cent mark.

“Death rate in urban Gurdaspur has remained 2.3 per cent in the last one week. In rural Gurdaspur, it has shot up to 5.2 per cent in the last seven days, which is a cause of alarm. The average death rate in Gurdaspur has remained above 3 per cent for the same period,” said Dr Vijay.

However, villagers in the district continue to scoff at Covid-appropriate behaviour.

Shapurgoraya village, roughly 30 km from Gurdaspur city, has witnessed at least three Covid-related (both suspected and confirmed) deaths in the last few days.

In one such case, Cabinet minister Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa too went to Shapurgoraya village on May 2 to express his condolences at the death of an ex-serviceman, who was suspected to have died of Covid-19 on April 22.

SMO Dera Baba Nanak, Harpal Singh stated that the man was cremated with all Covid-19 protocols in place.

Singh said, “He was tested but we are yet to receive his Covid-19 report. Nevertheless, we cremated him while keeping all Covid-19 protocols in mind.”

Later the same day, in the same village, another 26-year-old youth was also cremated with full Covid-19 protocols in place with SMO Harpal Singh stating that in this case too the man’s Covid report was awaited.

Villagers said that another ex-serviceman from the village had succumbed to Covid and had been cremated on April 13.

Despite all the suspected deaths happening due to Covid-19, the families of both ex-servicemen held proper bhog ceremonies, which were attended by dozens of villagers and relatives, who failed to follow social distancing protocols.

The stark gap in rural and urban areas in terms of death rate is visible throughout Punjab. While the case fatality rate in urban areas of Punjab hovered around 0.7 per cent mark in urban areas as on Monday, the same has jumped to 2.7 per cent in rural areas.

Amardeep Singh Cheema, chairman of Punjab Health Systems Corporation, said, “The case fatality rate in rural areas of Punjab is 2.7 per cent against 0.7 per cent in urban areas. I appeal to the public to get tested as soon as they show symptoms for early detection and better management of the disease. The only way to tackle the pandemic at the moment is to strictly follow all the directions issued by the state Department of health and family welfare.”

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