LAHORE - Discrepancies have been found in the COVID-19 statistics in Punjab as the two bifurcated branches of Health Department differed over mortalities occurred due to novel coronavirus in the province.

Primary and Secondary Healthcare (P&SH) Department has recorded 260 deaths due to coronavirus, while Specialized Healthcare and Medical Education (SHC&ME) Department has recorded 304 COVID-19 mortalities, thereby showing a difference of 44 fatalities. It gives credence to the general perception about government’s act of hiding coronavirus cases and fatalities to show pandemic under control.

SHC&ME, however, claimed that the figure of 304 casualties was a combined death toll in Punjab compiled by both departments However later, the Special Secretary (Development and Finance) SHC&ME Nadir Chattha held a meeting with the officials of P&SH Department and came out with a mutually agreed figure of 296 deaths in Punjab due to COVID-19 till date. However, as many as 36 deaths still remain unaccounted for as the P&SH’s daily statistical data still suggest 260 deaths on Monday till 5 pm.

The P&SH Department has been circulating COVID-19 statistics to the media on a daily basis since the pandemic outbreak, which might be a case of human error or a deliberate act of underreporting of coronavirus cases in the province. According to data shared by P&SH Department on Monday, the COVID-19 death toll reached 260 in Punjab after expiry of eight more patients on Monday, while confirmed cases of novel coronavirus raced to 15,346 with the addition of 762 new infections in the province.

Out of 762 new COVID-19 cases in Punjab on Monday, most 503 new cases were confirmed from Lahore, while 78 from Rawalpindi, 25 from Gujranwala, 18 from Mandi Bahauddin, 16 each from Multan, Sialkot and Sheikhupura, 13 from Faisalabad, 10 from Sargodha, eight each from Sahiwal, Khanewal and Dera Ghazi Khan, seven each from Jhelum and Kasur, six from Rahim Yar Khan, five from Nankana Sahib, three from Jhang and Bahwalnagar, two each from Bahawalpur, Vehari, Hafizabad and Okara, and one each from Attock, Khushab, Lodhran and Toba Tek Singh.

As per spokesperson of Corona Monitoring Room at Primary and Secondary Healthcare Department, as many as 168,940 tests have been performed in the province. Out of these, he said, 15,346 have been tested positive for the virus.