‘World will lose faith in all Lankan data’

Rajith Keerthi Tennakoon

The discrepancies in Sri Lankan COVID numbers will soon create doubt on all data that comes from Sri Lanka, former governor, Rajith Keerthi Tennakoon said. In recent weeks there had been many verified reports of the discrepancies, however the manipulation of numbers began in mid 2021, he said.

“I had brought some discrepancies to light in May 2021. However, at that time the discrepancies were not that great, but the numbers that are coming out now is unbelievable,” he said.

The epidemiology unit and the health ministry had under -reported 42% of COVID-19 numbers in Badulla District, Tennakoon said. Tennakoon said that according to the regional health authorities, there had been 14, 373 cases from march 2020 to 17 August 2021. However, according to the epidemiology unit the number is 8,313, he said.

“Thus there is a discrepancy of 6,060 patients. This is not a phenomena limited to Badulla, we have seen this across the country. Soon the WHO won’t accept our figures and we will be embarrassed in front of the whole world. This is a pandemic and WHO needs accurate data from all countries and when we start hedging the numbers, this will affect all the data we provide,” Tennakoon said.

The former governor said that 398 COVID cases were reported from Badulla District. However according to the epidemiology unit, the number was 10.

“This is insane. Only one in 40 patients have been reported. Only one in nine cases from Moneragala have been reorded by the epidemiology unit. All hospitals in Baduula are crowded. Badulla, Bandarawela, Diyathalawa, Bindunuwewa, Kahagolla and Hindagala COVID treatment centres are on the verge of collapse. The government must take the real numbers into account and plan for the needs of the health sector,” he said.

Tennakoon added that according to the regional health authorities, there had been 23, 598 cases reported in Kandy from March 2020 to 18 August 2021. However, according to the epidemiology unit the number is 16,006 he said.

“In Matale, regional health authorities report 11,573 but epidemiology unit puts the number at 2665,” he said.

Commenting on the discrepencies, Deputy Director-General of Health Services Dr. Hemantha Herath said that they are looking into these reports. “We have no intention of making up numbers because at the end of the day health officials are those who will be in trouble,” he said.

(Source: The Island – By Rathindra Kuruwita)

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