To,

Dr Beela Rajesh Secretary to Government, Department of Health and Family Welfare, Secretariat, Chennai 600009

Subject: Changes needed in Daily Bulletin on Corona – Critical Information needs to be added Dr Beela Rajesh IAS,

Arappor Iyakkam appreciates and stands by the thousands of healthcare workers working tirelessly to save TamilNadu from Corona. However, we think it is our duty to highlight and point out areas of gaps which needs to be filled to ensure fighting of Corona effectively. In this representation, we particularly want to highlight the key gaps in transparency and sharing of data by the Health Department and would like you to address them immediately to track, understand and also build confidence amongst the public about the efforts taken by the Government. The “TN Media-Bulletin” released every day and the Statistics on the Health & Family Welfare department are very useful to avoid false information spreading among people. Our team has done a detailed comparison of the information published by TamilNadu and other countries that have been affected by the Corona virus for longer time period. Canada provides detailed tracking of each case. For each case, Canada provides the source from which the patient acquired the virus, whether the patient is hospitalized, whether the patient is in ICU, and the status of the patient. New York provides a report of the demographic details of the positive cases and the deceased cases, including the age-wise and gender-wise break-up of the positive cases and the deceased. We request you to make the following changes to the way data is being shared by the TN Government currently

  1. Our first and foremost request is to put up the historic data of the Corona cases from the start until yesterday in a form of a .xls or .csv file online in the official website that will enable people to analyse and understand information easily. Sharing of pdf files everyday only gives information regarding today’s cases and not about the developments of the past cases with respect to their contact tracing, status etc

  2. In the “COVID-19 STATISTICS” table of the TN Daily Bulletin, some of the key information to be shared are missing. We have added them in bold to the existing information. For example purpose, we have used the data on 02/04/2020.

    • While the number of passengers screened are given, the media bulletin doesn’t contain details of the number of other people who are screened and followed up.
    • Apart from giving number on number of sample tested, it is also important to given number of individuals tested.
    • It is also important to give total numbers and the numbers currently under use for Ventilators, Isolation Beds, ICU Monitors and Testing Kits etc. This will help us know how prepared are we to handle the current day situation and the immediate future.
    • It would be good if you could add information on the positive cases of healthcare, corporation and municipality workers and Govt staffs. Since they are our frontline warriors in this, its is important to track them
    • Statistics of Median age, stratified by age groups and Gender for Corona Positive patients as well as deceased is important
    • Some states have already started announcing acquiring private hospitals temporarily for using infrastructure. In such case, kindly share the number of such hospitals acquired till date.

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  1. In the “Additional details of the cases” table, it is important that it is provided in a table format with additional details
  • While the media bulletin may just contain the cases for today, a full history sheet starting from case no 1 until today should be available in a .xls or .csv format online and should be updated everyday.

  • In the media bulletin, the source of transmission and information on hospitalization, ICU and current status are missing. We would like you to add them.

  • Source of transmission (For example, Travel from Italy on 04/02/2020, Phoenix Mall on 15/03/2020 etc)

    Travel exposure – cases that had contact with a travel-related case or had travelled outside of TamilNadu in the 14 days prior to illness onset. With travel details.

    Community exposure – cases that had no known contact with a travel-related case and had not travelled outside of TamilNadu in the 14 days prior to illness onset. With location and date of exposure.

    Pending – Confirmation on exposure setting is pending.

  • A column for cluster contact case number needs to be added to check for the cases for whom contact tracing has been done. For all those for whom contact tracing has not been done yet, it should be marked as unknown

  • We have provided the sample for a couple of data below

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  1. Apart from the District wise abstract of COVID 19 positive cases table, kindly add information about number of deceased by district as well.

  2. The website needs to be updated everyday with respect to total number of doctors and health care staffs available, newly recruited. The website should also contain information on the clusters being currently identified.

Disclosure of accurate information to the public and keeping them informed of the status reduces the panic in the society in such stressful times. This will help build the trust of people as well. Further, many other democratic countries like US and Canada are sharing all these information with their citizens on a daily basis.

As stated above, all the information available should also be available on the “Statistics” section on the home page of the Health and Family Welfare department in a user friendly format of .xls or .csv format. It is important to share this information with the people to make them understand that the Government is well-equipped to handle the situation, and has the required facilities. We are looking forward to greater transparency and sharing of information.

Sincerely Jayaram Venkatesan Convener – Arappor Iyakkam 140 A Rukmini Lakshmipathy Salai Egmore Chennai 600008