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Ex-SAPM Dr Faisal Sultan rejects WHO’s coronavirus death report

 Former SAPM on Health Dr Faisal Sultan. — The News/File 

LAHORE: Former special assistant to then prime minister on  health Dr Faisal Sultan Friday said the World Health Organization’s (WHO) data on coronavirus deaths in Pakistan is not reliable.

In a statement, Dr Faisal Sultan said: “I have to look at the WHO report in detail. We checked the cemetery record to determine the number of deaths from coronavirus. We also checked this record through our own system.”

The former health official’s statement came after the world health body estimated that the COVID-19 pandemic killed around 15 million people worldwide in 2020 and 2021 — nearly triple the number of deaths officially attributed to the disease.

“The full death toll associated directly or indirectly with the COVID-19 pandemic between January 1, 2020 and December 31, 2021 was approximately 14.9 million (range 13.3 million to 16.6 million),” the UN health agency said.

The figures are extremely sensitive due to how they reflect on the handling of the crisis by authorities around the world, with some countries, notably India, already contesting the far higher numbers.

The report added that in Pakistan, the figure was eight times as high.

To this, Dr Faisal Sultan said: “Our corona death record was accurate but it is not possible to have a 100% correct death toll, it could be 10-30% less but to say it was eight times less is unbelievable.”

The former SAPM said that the WHO report was based on hypothetical data which was not authentic.

“There were problems in the supply of oxygen in India but we did not face the shortage of oxygen and beds,” he added.

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