Pakistan refuses the World Health Organization report on unreported COVID-19 casualties. WHO claims that the death number reported from Pakistan remained underreported. In a recent report on COVID-19 deaths presented by WHO, it was claimed that there were approximately 260,000 deaths reported from COVID-19.
Pakistan reported 30,369 deaths with 1.5 million infections since the beginning of the pandemic. WHO suspects that the reported number was 8 times less than the actual figures. The number presented by WHO included casualties from both direct and indirect impacts of COVID-19 such as lack of emergency care during peak days and shortage of healthcare facilities.
Other than Pakistan, 20 other countries were on the list where WHO suspects the under-reported casualties due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Other countries included India, the United States, the United Kingdom, Turkey, Italy, Russia, South Africa, Mexico, Nigeria, Ukraine, Colombia, Poland, Brazil, Germany, Egypt, Indonesia, Peru, Iran, and the Philippines.
On the other hand, Pakistani officials have refused these reports of substantially under-reported deaths in Pakistan alongside India.
Addressing the situation Abdul Qadir Patel, Health Minister of Pakistan said “We [authorities] have been gathering data manually on Covid deaths, it could have a difference of a few hundred but it can't be in hundreds of thousands. This is completely baseless.”
Patel added that they have explained the data collection procedure to WHO in a rejection note against the report suspecting some technical error from their end. The Health Ministry also said that the COVID-19 deaths were initially reported at the district level that was being recorded at provincial and national levels respectively from where it got live on news channels.
According to Dr Faisal Sultan, former PM's special assistant on health affairs “Our coronavirus death record was accurate but it is not possible to have a 100% correct death count, it could be 10-30% less but to say it was eight times less is unbelievable."
The official death count was reported after double-checking the number from graveyards so the WHO data on the COVID-19 death count is not reliable. “WHO estimates are based on generalized mathematical extrapolations and assumptions whereas our numbers are based on actual ground data and with dual check systems as above” Sultan added.