May saw highest number of Covid funerals in Delhi as per civic data: Mayor Jai Prakash

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New Delhi, Jun 1 (PTI) The highest number of funerals conducted in a month as per Covid protocols in Delhi ever since the coronavirus pandemic began took place in May this year, which going by civic data stands at over 9,300, North Delhi Mayor Jai Prakash claimed on Tuesday.

As per the data, this pegs the average number of funerals per day in May to about 300.

Figure-wise, April was the second-worst month in terms of COVID-19 funerals, with about 9,150 funerals, as per data from the three civic bodies, Prakash said.

Delhi has three municipal corporations -- North, South and East Delhi, or NDMC, SDMC and EDMC.

Major cremation sites in the city are Nigambodh Ghat, Punjabi Bagh crematorium, Seemapuri crematorium, among other sites.

'May month this year saw the highest number of funerals. The number had begun to rise from last week of April only, with one day, the figure going as high as over 700. And, these were bodies of people who were confirmed cases of Covid, brought from various health facilities,' the North Delhi mayor claimed.

However, as per the official data shared by the Delhi health department, the city had registered record 448 Covid deaths on May 3, the highest till date in the national capital.

Prakash claimed the numbers from official civic data based on funerals show the death figures in April-May were 'much larger' than reported.

In May this year, as per civic data, the number of funerals conducted at cremation and burial sites under the three municipal corporations stands at over 9,300, averaging about 300 per day, he said.

On regular days, a maximum 50 bodies would be cremated, say at Nigambodh Ghat, but it had increased by six times, putting tremendous strain on our system and municipal staff on duty, the North Delhi mayor said.

'Among the three corporations, 1,000 platforms were reserved for cremating bodies of Covid victims. We at NDMC had started five new sites, including at Mongolpuri, Panchkuian Road and Inderpuri, to ease the burden of existing crematoriums. Still, the number of dead bodies arriving was overwhelming,' Prakash said.

He said the NDMC is gearing up and augmenting its health infrastructure, anticipating the third wave of the coronavirus pandemic.

'Yes, cases have come down in the last few days, but we need to be watchful. Only after lockdown is eased, will we get the real picture,' Prakash said. PTI KND AQS AQS

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