The Andhra Pradesh government has stopped sharing district-wise details of COVID-19 cases over the past three days, raising concerns over the reduced transparency in the daily updates. Drawing attention to the changed bulletin format, state president for BJP Kanna Lakshmi Narayana has written to Chief Minister Jagan Mohan Reddy, asking for the old bulletin model to be continued.
The state government has been sharing information on COVID-19 positive cases through daily media bulletins in a fairly consistent manner ever since Andhra saw its first case of COVID-19 in March. While the format of the bulletin has been changed a few times, since April 4, the state government has been providing the district-wise break up of the number of positive COVID-19 cases. With more details added over time, the daily bulletin over the past few weeks had information on the number of new COVID-19 cases detected in the past 24 hours, total positive cases, active cases, deaths and recoveries in each of the 13 districts in the state.
Apart from this information, the daily morning bulletin would also contain the total number of samples tested in the state in the past 24 hours, and the sum totals of the district wise numbers.
However, since May 19, the bulletin has only had information on the total number of samples tested in the past 24 hours, number of newly detected COVID-19 cases, total number of COVID-19 cases, recoveries and deaths. Apart from this, the bulletin also continues to mention the number of new cases linked to the Koyambedu cluster of cases.
Special Chief Secretary (Health) Jawahar Reddy told TNM that the district wise breakup has been removed from the daily bulletin based on district collectors' request.
In his letter to the CM, Kanna Lakshmi Narayana wrote that the district-wise data is âuseful and helpful to people and every one concerned with the control of COVID 19. Particularly, it alerts and cautions the people of that particular district where the positive cases are high to take all necessary steps to fight the virus and control it.â
Stating that the new model which withholds information from people can be âhighly dangerous,â he demanded that the state government must withdraw the new model and continue with the old model of the bulletin.
The bulletin format was also recently changed to exclude the COVID-19 cases among people returning to Andhra Pradesh from other states, to Andhra Pradeshâs COVID-19 tally. At first, these cases were included in the state table, under a separate section called âOthersâ, apart from the 13 districts. Since May 14, these cases attributed to other states have been removed from the stateâs numbers, bringing down the official state total from 2,137 on May 13, to 2,100 on May 14. Since then, the number of positive cases and recoveries among people who returned from other states have been kept separate from the stateâs numbers in the bulletin.
As of Thursday morning, Andhra has recorded a total of 2,452 positive cases, apart from 153 cases among people who were brought back from other states where they were stranded (Odisha, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Karnataka, West Bengal, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu). The state has recorded a total of 54 COVID-19 deaths. The state has seen 1,705 recoveries including people who came in from other states, which means the total number of active cases in the state at present is 846 (718 people from Andhra and 128 people from other states).