Bhiwani (Hary), May 16 (PTI) Over 30 people have died in Union minister V K Singh’s ancestral village here in the past two weeks, the sarpanch said on Sunday as the unusually high number of deaths raised concern that COVID-19 could be the cause.
Bopara village head Naresh said many of these people showed symptoms of the novel coronavirus infection, but only three of them had tested positive for the disease.
“Over 30 people have died in the village during the past two weeks. Many of them were elderly. Among those who died, only three were confirmed COVID-19 positive cases,” he said.
Bhiwani Deputy Commissioner Jaibir Singh Arya told PTI over phone that all residents of the village have been screened for the disease.
The officer, who toured the village on Sunday, also said that an ambulance has been stationed in the village.
'We have set up an isolation centre in the village and also stationed an ambulance for emergency use. Vaccination centres have also been set up here,' he said.
'The entire village has been sanitised,' he added.
Sarpanch Naresh said Bapora village has a population of over 20,000.
Commenting on the deaths, he said, “They had symptoms like fever and cough, but did not get tested. So, the real cause behind their deaths remains unknown.” He said many villagers were reluctant to undergo COVID-19 tests.
The village head, however, said health department officials have stepped up testing and screening in the village to check the spread of the infection.
“Random tests of over 150 people were conducted during the past couple of days and only one was found positive,” he said.
He said the state government has also been holding vaccination camps and one such recent camp saw good response from the villagers.
Bapora, the sarpanch said, is also known as the “village of faujis (soldiers)” and also happens to be the native village of Union minister Gen V K Singh.
Bapora is not the only village to have reported such an unusually high number of deaths due to suspected COVID-19.
Last month, 21 people had died in Rohtak's Titoli village, but officials said only four of these were confirmed to have died due to the infection.
There had also been reports of nearly 40 deaths in Mundhal Khurd and Mundhal Kalan villages in Bhiwani in the recent weeks.
Reacting to such developments, the opposition had demanded that COVID-19 testing in rural areas be stepped up.
Former Haryana chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda had sought setting up a task force to deal with the COVID-19 problem in rural areas.
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